The biggest news that has surfaced in the past few weeks (nay, months) has been…Wikileaks. And for good reason. Yes, this is even bigger than the news yesterday about the list of recipients for the frivolous bailout spending. However, issues such as this are exactly why Wikileaks, in my opinion, is such an asset to the public good. Now for those who don’t know what Wikileaks is, it’s basically a website that collects both illegally illicited and/or “leaked” information pertaining to a lot of important subjects. Not all the information is confidential but some of it is obtained in a “black market” mannerism and has recently caused an uproar in the governing bodies due to the distribution of illegally obtained, confidential government documentation and proprietary information. It has introduced big issues pertaining to the degree to which the freedom of speech and press are allowed in the ever-changing internet world, and has, furthermore, brought about circumstantial evidence that further support our suspect view of the government’s transparency and actions.
Personally, I am a fan of Wikileaks for 2 reasons: (1) I believe that an extreme, radical action was necessary for both the Supreme Court as well as the public to really scrutinize the secrecy and hypocrisy that goes on within the government every single day (some might think martyrdom). (2) Furthermore, even though every individual entity (including government bodies) has their rights to intellectual property, trade secrets, confidential operatives etc, it keeps me hopeful that this is an ACTIVE stepping stone to a middle ground that will actually spark a reform policy focused on less pseudo-political, bipartisan shenanigans and more on the transparency of governments and individual entities at least when pertaining to actions that have detrimental ramifications towards society and the public good.
Now, I am by no means advocating the stealing and distribution of secret government documentation and/or proprietary information from any individual entity, but on the other hand, it’s somewhat unbearable to stand by and watch the underhanded, now turned social norm, way of “handling” business whereby those with the deepest pockets or the biggest guns dictate the policy of the regime independent of its effects on society. Thus, although Wikileaks has placed the government’s reputation and information at stake, and to some degree, has introduced a worldwide portal for “black market” collaboration, I have to commend their audacity and direction. Much like the Arizona immigration law that was passed back in April 2010, this effort, while slightly ill-conceived and a little extreme, has opened up a new middle ground for us all…and I hope that we can find a way to take it.
We all knew something like this would arrive…The government states a bunch of proposed spending cuts (which of course isn’t just cost cutting but increased tax revenues and reformed social programs etc for the private sector). The debt panel that Obama has put together states that none of these changes will be enacted until 2012 or 2013 depending upon how slow the recovery continues (if we ever do recover)…
Here’s an excerpt of the list below from the above CNN article:
[Spending] targets: The report recommends that spending ultimately be capped at 21% of gross domestic product.
Rein in spending: The report proposes close to $200 billion in domestic and defense spending cuts in 2015. That’s a key way it would meet Obama’s goal of working the annual deficit down to 3% of GDP by 2015. In fact, the final report would do one better, getting the deficit to less than 2.5%.
Control health care costs: The report recommends capping growth in total federal health spending — everything from Medicare to health insurance subsidies — to the rate of economic growth plus 1%.
It also proposes reforming physician payments, cost-sharing with Medicare beneficiaries, malpractice law and prescription drug costs.
Reform tax code: The report would lower income tax rates and simplify the tax code. It would abolish the Alternative Minimum Tax — the so-called wealth tax — and proposes either significantly reducing or eliminating the hundreds of tax breaks in the federal code that reduce federal revenue intake by more than $1 trillion a year.
Raise gas tax: The report would raise the federal gas tax by 15 cents a gallon. It would dedicate the extra revenue to fund transportation and limit spending on projects to whatever has been collected by the increased tax that year.
Cost of living increases: It would offer less generous annual cost-of-living adjustments and reduce benefits for wealthier recipients.
Retirement age: The plan would slowly usher in an increase in the retirement age from 67 to 68 by 2050 and to 69 by 2075. Over the same period, the early retirement age would increase gradually from 62 to 64. There would, however, those who are unable to work past age 62 would be offered “hardship exemptions.”
Payroll tax: The report also recommends expanding over 40 years the amount of workers’ income subject to the payroll tax, which funds Social Security. As a result, the amount of one’s earnings subject to the payroll tax would rise to $190,000 in 2020, about $22,000 higher than it would be under current law.
Protection against poverty: To prevent seniors from falling into poverty — a key mission of the Social Security program — the report proposes creating a new special minimum benefit.
For low-income workers with 30 years of earnings, benefits could never fall below 125% of the poverty line in 2017, a level that would be indexed to wages thereafter. The formula would be reduced for workers with less than 30 years of earnings but more than 10.
With the ridiculous debt spending that occurs by most households combined with the inflated housing and energy prices, these increases in tax costs will have detrimental effects to lower and middle-class. Additionally, with the renouncing of the dollar as the main stable currency by countries such as China, and a target date of debt reduction to 40% of current levels by 2035, the continual QE spending along with endless under the table funding does not promote any means of a re-vamp that will bring about any type of conducive, underlying change in our economic situation. The government has already shown over and over that it will save the big guy before the little guy, and once again, I feel that these so-called “tax increases and spending cuts” are just a facade to hide us from the profligate lives that have brought us to this downward spiral, and that will continue to erode the very core of this country’s economy.
But it’s ok…let’s just enjoy the holidays. For now. Mayans call for 2012 apocalypse. We might just see it…
The Dodd-Frank Reform Bill is regarded as one of the largest financial reform bill in the past 70+ years that addresses the systemic risks and stability problems associated with the banking and finance industry. It addresses “too big to fail”, regulatory issues, expanding the responsibility of the Federal Reserve, implementing a variant of the Glass-Steagall (Volcker Rule), and increased transparency across the industry. Although this bill is intended to do some good, it has some shortcomings…
Below is an excerpt from “A Critical Assessment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act” on http://www.nakedcapitalism.com:
That said, from the standpoint of providing a sound and robust regulatory structure, the Act falls flat on at least four important counts:
- The Act does not deal with the mispricing of pervasive government guarantees throughout the financial sector.
This will allow many financial firms to finance their activities at below-market rates and take on excessive risk.
- Systemically important firms will be made to bear their own losses but not the costs they impose on others in the system.
To this extent, the Act falters in addressing directly the primary source of market failure in the financial sector, which is systemic risk.
- In several parts, the Act regulates a financial firm by its form (bank) rather than function (banking).
This feature will prevent the Act from dealing well with the new organisational forms likely to emerge in the financial sector – to meet the changing needs of global capital markets, as well as to respond to the Act’s provisions.
- The Act makes important omissions in reforming and regulating parts of the shadow banking system that are systemically important.
It also fails to recognise that there are systemically important markets – collections of individual contracts and institutions – that also need orderly resolution when they experience freezes.”
(excerpt written by: Viral Acharya, Professor of Finance, Stern School of Business, New York University, Thomas F. Cooley Professor of Economics, Stern School of Business and Faculty of Arts and Science, New York University, Matthew Richardson, Professor of Applied Economics, Stern School of Business, New York University, Richard Sylla, Professor of Economics, Stern School of Business, New York University and Ingo Walter, Seymour Milstein Professor of Finance, Corporate Governance and Ethics at the Stern School of Business, New York University. Cross-posted from VoxEU)
Thus, even with the passing of this new reform act and all its good intentions, there probably won’t be a huge, sweeping paradigm shift in the way that banking and business will be done in this country. Instead, it will just impede some parts of banking business in Wall Street, but ultimately allow for new ways for banks to make sure they can continue to make their exorbitant profits in high risk environments with lack of regard for the rest of the consumer base.
Read the rest of the article here…
by: Dave Banister- TheMarketTrendForecast.com
Last August I penned an article predicting a massive five year bull run in gold and gold stocks. I outlined my reasoning and compared this 13 year period from 2001 to 2014 to the tech stock bull from 1986-1999. .
In February of this year, I again wrote an article for Kitco.com explaining the 13 year Gold Bull still had a lot more room to run. At the time Gold had pulled back to 1040-1070 windows and I mentioned that “smart money would be accumulating” and we should look for $1300-$1325 as the objective. That brings up forward to October of 2010, with Gold running to $1350 as recently as this morning.
We have a huge rally because we are in the 2nd year of this final 5 year run I predicted, and this is when the general investing public becomes “aware” of the bull market. They miss the first five years from 2001-2006, and then while we consolidate for three years from 2006-2009 they fall asleep. It is not until Gold breaks all time highs that people wake up and start buying. This is typical in a super bull cycle, the behavioral patterns are always the same with the herd. I based my forecast on herd mentality, whether bullish or bearish.
I am now looking for Gold to continue to run during this trampling into the asset from the herds of investors to about $1480-$1520 on this leg before we have a strong correction. That figure is not taken out of the thin air, it’s an Elliott Wave based pattern that I recognize and forecast in advance. Subscribers to my website are exposed to my outside the box forecasts on the SP 500 and Gold all the time. Usually it starts with them not believing, and later they wonder how I arrived at the predictions. To wit, on August 30th I predicted a huge breakout in Silver to $26-$29 per ounce when it was at $18.75 per ounce. This was purely based on the Elliott Wave pattern and the lack of awareness by the investing public at the time of the Silver bull. It is also “poor man’s Gold”, and as simple as that sounds, it is what drives the herd of investors to invest. Look for Silver to continue higher to those target zones before correcting.
Many investors who are briefly exposed to Elliott Wave Theory assume that a certain well known forecaster must be the only person in the world who uses it. Since he is wrong more often than he is right, people toss out Elliott Waves as mad science. That is a mistake and why I continually write articles for Kitco using my Elliott Wave methods to forecast SP 500 and Gold moves in advance. Look for Gold and Gold stocks to continue powering higher than people can imagine over the next four years, and pick up some darts and throw them at some juniors while you’re at it.
You can check out our forecast service at www.MarketTrendForecast.com, consider subscribing ahead of our rate increase as well. Best to you and your trading!
The following is a summary of an article that was taken from Market Force Analysis’s website where they did a simple linear regression comparing gold and silver for the past 7 years. The study has definitely confirmed what most traders have known for these past few years…that gold and silver were heavily correlated in these past 7 years, but the data also brings up suspicion that this relationship between gold and silver is actually heavily algorithmic due to the high r-squared of > 0.91 for the past 3 yrs and an r-squared of 0.96 for 2003-2008…almost perfect correlation for two metals that have different functionality and market uses. It’s a heavily programmed trade that does not correlate the fundamental pricing of the commodity itself, as both metals are heavily “suppressed” by the industry’s heavy algorithmic trading schemes. The regression below displays the cross-plot between silver and gold. The black line is from 2003-2008 and the green line is from 2008-2010.
The current trend that we are seeing in silver might be a first sign of de-leveraging (well, actually de-correlating) from gold, and might finally make for a better trading opportunity than gold.
Read the article here.