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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- November 20, 2011

MF Global: Was It A Hit? - Zero Hedge - Lawrence Lepard - Submitted by Tyler Durden - 11/18/2011 - Imagine you are Ben Bernanke, or on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. The time frame is July and August of 2011 and the price of gold is on a tear. Commodities inflation has been persistent and is breaking out everywhere. Your prediction that inflation “is contained” and is a “temporary phenomena” are beginning to look absurd. What do you do?..... Simple. Hint that QE3, the primary drive of inflation, is coming and then fail to deliver at the September FOMC meeting. That takes care of the price of gold and the gold stocks. Ah, but those pesky commodities speculators keep making money and trading against what you want the markets to do. So what is to be done there? Hey Jon Corzine, how about you tank the largest broker for the small commodities punters in the world, and we let them twist in the wind? That will serve them right. Teach them to bet against the government approved scenario..... Think it did not happen? Well think again. All of the pieces fit. It sure is convenient that all those commodities speculators are now out of the box. Also, who will want to speculate on commodities in the future given customer funds are no longer protected. Furthermore, commodities speculators are not a very “All American” group. From the authorities point of view they can say: screw them, who will feel sympathy? Hell, James Bullard, Fed Governor, in an interview on CNBC yesterday said the MF Global collapse proves that the system works. Yes it does Jim, for you. Personally, I have $90,000 at MF Global and I would like to have my honestly earned money returned. Unfortunately, the odds of that happening any time soon seem slim. In part because when MF Global entered bankruptcy the judge appointed a Trustee whose law firm has done substantial work for JP Morgan, a deeply interested party. We will probably never find out what happened here. But for those of us whose eyes are open the results speak for themselves.

Supercommittee failure could trigger US credit downgrade, economists warn - Economists predict dire consequences if committee fails to reach agreement on how to reduce America's massive debt - The Guardian (UK) - Dominic Rushe in New York November 18, 2011 - Economists are warning of dire consequences if US politicians fail to make progress this weekend in tense talks aimed at reducing America's massive deficit ahead of a Wednesday deadline. The bi-partisan congressional super-committee is charged with drawing up plans for a $1.2tn reduction in the nation's deficit by the middle of next week. Failure to do so will trigger an automatic "sequester" that will make cuts of that size to defence and social welfare programmes starting in 2013. But the two sides seem far from finding a solution after clashing over tax revenues. While Wednesday is the official deadline for the supercommittee to report back, it has until Monday to tell the Congressional Budget Office about the impact any plan they send to Congress will have on the budget. "Time is running out. What I can say is we are leaving no stone unturned, negotiations continue and we are looking to find a way. We recognise what's at stake and we're hoping to reach an agreement," Democrat committee member Chris Van Hollen told CNN Friday.

Oil hits $100 as US economy slowly improves - Chris Hahn - AP - November 16, 2011 - Oil prices hit $100 a barrel on Wednesday after a six-week surge that may drive gasoline prices higher in coming months and slow the fragile economic recovery. For now, there a few reasons to explain why oil jumped 30 percent higher since early October. One is promising. The U.S. economy continued to show signs of strength, meaning that the thirst for fuel may grow. The other factor is troublesome, as concerns rise about potential disruptions to critical -- and tightening -- world oil supplies, including unrest in the key oil-producing areas of the Middle East and Africa. The price run-up has led to increasing numbers of investors, such as major investment funds, pension funds, money managers and other speculators, to flood back into commodities markets. "This thing is on fire," independent oil trader Stephen Schork said. "Everyone's gobbling oil up."

Eight SEC employees disciplined over failures in Madoff fraud case; none are fired [A
key employee was not fired because he knew too much.]
- Washington Post - By David S. Hilzenrath, November 11, 2011
- The Securities and Exchange Commission, which failed to stop Bernard Madoff’s long-running investment fraud despite repeated warnings, has disciplined eight agency employees over their handling of the matter but did not fire anyone. The SEC’s head of human resources and a law firm hired to advise the agency had recommended that SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro fire one person, whom the SEC described as a manager in the office that inspects investment firms. But the chairman decided not to fire the employee, because doing so “would harm the agency’s work,” SEC spokesman John Nester said. The disclosure that no one was terminated comes at a time when street protesters and other critics who blame Wall Street for the country’s economic plight are questioning whether the government is serious about holding powerful wrongdoers accountable. This week, a federal judge excoriated the SEC for letting firms such as Citigroup settle fraud charges without admitting or denying wrongdoing. Madoff’s fraud cost investors billions of dollars, shattered lives and became perhaps the biggest embarrassment in the SEC’s history. Many clients who had entrusted Madoff with their savings were left struggling to make ends meet.

Why Your Tax Bill Might Surge Next Year - Yahoo/Fox Business - by Bob Jennings - November 9, 2011 - In a recent tax planning meeting with one of our clients, we shocked them with what their income tax future looked like for 2013 if -- on the off-chance -- Congress continues to do nothing to provide a long-term permanent set of tax laws. They had no idea what tax breaks were expiring this year and next year, and how much it would cost them personally in extra income tax. But they aren't alone, many Americans and even tax professionals aren't aware that their tax bill could rise dramatically next year These clients are your average American family and their situation is a good example of the law changes that will affect all of us. Here's their tax situation with a table summarizing the expiring tax laws that are scheduled to occur in 2011 and 2012......

Major Individual Income Tax Benefits Expiring 12/31/2011:
• Personal tax credits applied against income tax no longer apply
• Higher alternative minimum tax exemptions revert back to extraordinarily-low thresholds
• $250 school teacher expense deduction ends
• Mortgage insurance premium deduction expires
• State and local sales tax deductions expire
• Tuition and related fees deduction end
• IRA to charity tax-free transfers stop
• 2% Social Security tax reduction ends

Major Individual Income Tax Benefits Expiring 12/31/2012:
• Marriage penalty equalization ends
• Dividends taxed at capital gains rates removed, taxed at regular rates now
• Capital gains low tax rates expires
• Removal of itemized deduction phase out for higher income Americans
• Removal of personal exemption phase out for higher income Americans
• Child care deduction limit of $3,000 reverts to $2,400
• Child credit reduces from $1,000 per child to $500 per child
• Low 10% tax bracket for low income Americans is eliminated
• Lower income tax rates and smaller brackets expires
• Refundable adoption credit and reduced deduction
• American Opportunity college education credit expires
• Major reduction in earned income credits and refunds
• Income tax exemption for debt forgiven on home foreclosures and repossessions
• Deduction for student loan interest ends
• Education IRA limit drops from $2,000 to $500

What actually happened with MF Global - November 15, 2011 - Trends Research Institute - Gerald Celente

Gerald Celente, on the MF Global scandal and the meltdown of the futures market

Gerald Celente, about the MF Global scandal and the meltdown of the futures market , this theft of clients' money has never happened before, the clients' accounts should have been kept as SEGREGATED accounts, so the clients could get all of their money back even if the company files for bankruptcy. I feel sorry for all the people who lost their money by MF Global . MF Global is a glip non important to markets, although its messed up, markets are only moving on the cnbc and other media headlines that continue to talk about europe and there problems. Its total manipulation to keep using media headlines about greece, italy, france, spain, to keep bringing the markets down. They keep fear mongering! There creating volitality, and once we have to talke about our debt issue on november 23 our markets will probablly go down more. Its total media manipulation


harryhipps said...

It's somewhat ridiculous that we keep lurching back and forth, looking to change the tax code to favor this and stop that. And in gov't actions, tax this, subsidize that, buy a car company, put venture capital in a solar company, then try to stick businesses with health care funding, and on and on and on.
This is Soviet style central planning without the vodka.
Don't just do something, stand there. I hear really little about making the government live within it's constitutionally defined powers (with the exception of some of the Paulistas).
The sad thing is that the people of the US are now trained to look to the gov't to solve every problem. They can't, they won't and the longer it takes for us to realize this, the worse it'll be.
The tax code should only be concerned with, gasp!, raising revenues to fund the gov't. And the gov't should be about defense, interstate and international commerce and relations and maybe a couple of special functions like some disaster relief and even some r and d for basic science.
Retirement, education, health, race relations, household spending, and on and on aren't federal tasks.
I would also tell investors to watch where they put their money. If you invest in hedge funds, or any other investment house, you'd better know who you're dealing with and what you're investing in. You pays your money and you takes your chances. If it blows up, YOU LOSE. That's not to say that if people who have a fiduciary responsibility to manage money in a legal way commit crimes they should get out of jail (not that that happens much anymore), but the bailing out of losses in speculative investments is wrong.
Kind of a rambling post but I would like to hear about the feds rarely and turn away from them handling EVERYTHING.

James Thomas Shell said...

Harry the money taken by MF Global wasn't in futures contracts. It was in their cash accounts. They have married the Banks with the Investment institutions. Bank of America has already transferred money from Merrill Lynch to the holding company. You don't think they can decide to close out people's checking and savings accounts the way MF Global has. Do you think the FDIC has enough money to bail out BofA savings and checking accounts?

This thing is going to burst wide open.