Fareed Zakaria GPS – CNN 08-30-15

Salient to Investors:

Fareed Zakaria said:

  • The US economy has recovered nicely.
  • A 2014 UCLA study found that many black and Latino students face almost total isolation from white and Asian students and middle-class peers.
  • Much more Saudi oil wealth has gone into pernicious causes over the last 30 years than Iranian oil wealth.
  • Tharman Shanmugaratnam says half of the Muslim population in Britain lives in the bottom 10% of its neighborhoods by income.
  • The UN estimates the average woman needs to have 2.1 children to maintain the population of a developed country. Every EU country is below that level, though France has one of the best rates in Europe. Demographers say that it is difficult to get people to have children using just financial incentives.
  • Pew predicts that by 2050, populations in Greece, Portugal and Germany will have dropped by double-digit percentages. The UN predicts over-65s in Europe will increase to more than 25% of the population by 2050, Japan’s will increase to more than 33%.
  • The US will be demographically vibrant and growing for decades. Pew predicts that America’s population will grow by 27% from 2010 to 2050 due to immigration and a relatively younger population. The CDC says the US fertility rate hit a record low in 2013.
  • The World Wildlife Fund says half of the earth’s wildlife has been lost in the past 40 years.

Elliott Abrams at the Council on Foreign Relations said:

  • Obama is turning away from America’s responsibilities around the world. Poland, Czechoslovakia, the Balkans, feel less safe facing Russia; Australia, Vietnam, South Korea, Japan feel less safe facing China; Israel, the Gulf Arabs feel less safe facing Iran.
  • The US is asking for nothing and getting nothing on human rights in the Iran and Cuba deals.

Peter Beinart at Haaretz, New America and CNN said:

  • The polls show Obama is much more popular around the world than George W. Bush, while America is more popular than it was.
  • The Iran nuclear deal is a major accomplishment akin to Nixon and China.

Meghan O’Sullivan at Harvard said:

  • Strategic restraint might make sense in a world where the US does not have much at stake, or US allies are active in promoting US interests, or where world order is self-perpetuating; but we don’t live in that world. International order is not in good shape and the Middle East is significantly worse off than 7 years ago.
  • The Iran nuclear deal has very real flaws; including the fact that Iranians get all their benefits up front in exchange for a promise to stick to the deal for a decade or longer.

Gideon Rose at Foreign Affairs said:

  • The international order is not fraying. The US is the world’s strongest power by leap years, with a defense budget equal to the next 7 nations combined. The US and its allies account for 75% of global defense spending. Core allegiances and alliances in the major industrial and economic centers are intact and thriving.
  • Much of the Middle East is no longer a core American strategic interest and US direct involvement there is not necessarily improving things.
  • The Iran nuclear deal is not great but is dramatically better than all the realistic alternatives.

General Stanley McChrystal said:

  • In combat, soldiers are much more frightened of the enemy than their sergeant.
  • You want personnel confident enough in their relationships and in what they do to be able to operate effectively.
  • Personnel must have confidence in the competence of their leaders, and more importantly their values.
  • The confidence of personnel is undermined when they see a difference between what senior management says it will do and what it actually does, or if they believe senior leadership is uninformed.
  • Key to being a leader is personal discipline and empathy.

Watch the video at http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/category/gps-episodes/ or read the full transcript at http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1508/30/fzgps.01.html

The Curse Of The Euro: Money Corrupted, Democracy Busted – David Stockman’s Contra Corner 07-17-15

Salient to Investors:

David Stockman writes:

  • Germany has set fire to the Eurozone in order to save it. Lending another $96 billion to a bankrupt country makes no sense, while the fiscal targets set for Greece are ridiculous. Greece has a de facto public debt of $400 billion vs. $200 billion of GDP. Within days the entire banking system of Greece will be taken over by the ECB, meaning that depositors will be given a big haircut. Greece will become an outright debtors’ colony and its government will function as page-boys for the Troika occupiers, resulting in political and social upheaval which will spread throughout Europe as Greece implodes.
  • Another recession is coming to Europe. The Eurozone is a fatally flawed monetary union. If any sovereign state of the EU cannot pay its debts, those debts need to be written off or restructured.
  • The euro is the doomsday machine, or more precisely the rogue ECB behind it. The euro will eventually collapse and Keynesian policies will be repudiated and dismantled, but not before European prosperity is extinguished for a generation.
  • Europe had a de facto common currency before 1914 under the fixed exchange rates of the gold standard, which helped produce a multi-decade of prosperity not seen before or since.
  • The ECB printing press has fundamentally falsified the price of debt, produced phony economic growth in the early years and fiscal profligacy after the growth bubble burst after the 2008 crisis, resulting in only 0.9% annual rate of nominal GDP since. The EU-19 debt ratio has climbed steadily towards 100% of GDP since the financial crisis vs. the 60% debt-to-GDP target of the EU treaty.
  • Bond market discipline is fully compatible with national sovereignty and democratic fiscal governance and is a requisite for Europe.
  • Merkel was conned into believing that the original bond sell-off was due to the same speculators who supposedly caused the great financial crisis of 2008.
  • The burst global credit bubbles of 2008 and euro bond crash of 2010 and after had the same cause – central bank financial repression causing government bonds to be underpriced and global investors to scramble for yield; speculators could surf the financial bubbles on the back of cheap carry from the central bank pegged money market.
  • Superstate bureaucrats cannot meaningfully elevate economic growth rates and so enable insolvent state borrowers to grow out from under unsustainable debt. Portugal, Italy, Ireland Greece, Spain – PIIGS – and France prove that quasi-socialist welfare states in the contemporary European setting prove this.
  • When you destroy honest bond markets you eventually end up with Stalinist governance in the name of the free market.
  • Speculators who rode the Draghi bubble made hundreds of billions of profits buying PIIGS debt on 95% repo, and were then positioned to sell their bonds back to the ECB at the first sign of a market break.
  • Spain’s real GDP at the end of Q1, 2015 was still 6% below early 2008, but its debt ratio has risen sharply to near 100% of GDP. There is no possibility of honest fiscal governance in a social democracy like Spain when its debt price is blatantly falsified. Spain’s budget deficit in 2014 remained at 5.8% of GDP so won’t survive another recession, and will be bailed out fueling radical popular movements a la Greece.

Read the full article at http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/the-curse-of-the-euro-money-corrupted-democracy-busted/

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S&P 500 Extends Worst Month Since May 2012 – Bloomberg 08-30-13

Salient to Investors:

Luca Jellinek at Credit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank said it is the third time the court turns down budget-saving measures, but ultimately it won’t derail what’s going on in Portugal, it just makes it less efficient and harder to slim down the state.

Read the full article at  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-29/dollar-gains-after-gdp-as-japan-futures-rise-oil-slips.html

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Treasuries Rise Most in Year on Bets Stimulus to Continue – Bloomberg 07-12-13

Salient to Investors:

Christopher Sullivan at United Nations Federal Credit Union said Bernanke went out of his way to comfort and convince the markets that a reduction in QE is by no means to be regarded as a financial tightening, and that easing remains highly conditional.

Fitch cut France’s credit ranking to AA+ from AAA. while Dan Mulholland at BNY Mellon Capital Markets said there is pressure on Portugal, which is significantly higher in yields.

Charles Plosser at FRB of Philadelphia said the Fed should begin tapering in September and end the QE by year-end.

Donald Ellenberger at Federated Investors said the Fed has been able to arrest the rise in yield, but it is clear they have rung the bell and the beginning of the end of easing is upon us, though still a little ways down the road.

MacNeil Curry at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said we are in a bear trend and the momentum points to higher yields –  a 10-year yield break above 2.62 percent would signal a rise to as high as 2.95 percent.

Read the full article at  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-13/treasuries-rise-most-in-year-on-bets-stimulus-to-continue.html

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