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Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by mongey, Mar 2, 2016.
Looking at a recession, baby!!!
Which is one letter away from "anal isis". Coincidence?
Some context - the curve "inverting," or the spread between the 2yr Treasury and the 10Yr Treasury going negative (meaning 10yrs yield less than 2yrs) is a traditional warning sign of a recession with about a 12-18 month lag time. It doesn't CAUSE a recession, nor does it mean a recession WILL happen, though while the old joke about economists correctly predicting seven of the last three recessions is worth keeping in mind, this is usually a pretty good indicator that there are major concerns with global growth, and the Fed policy is likely too restrictive.
First, that's not the ONLY spread people track as an economic indicator, and the spread between 3 month Treasuries and 10yrs has been negative since late spring. That's not a good sign.
Second, "this time it's different" of course, but there ARE things different this time around - what arguably drove the curve into inversion wasn't slow growth in the US, but a GDP contraction in Germany with the next quarter believed likely to be negative as well, and with the traditional definition of a recession being two quarters of negative GDP growth, Germany, one of the manufacturing powerhouses of the world, is probably now entering a recession, thanks to tepid EU zone economic growth. We're doing a bit better here (though I'm watching retail sales reports closely, and Macy's was exceptionally weak today). However, IMO the real issue is the impact of Trump's trade war, and there aren't many economists alive who can remember a time when barriers to free trade weren't falling globally, so I think people are having a hard time knowing what to make of Trump's escalation of trade barriers in the last year. Also, given he timed the surprise announcement of the final round of 10% tariffs on essentially all remaining untariffed Chinese goods to the evening after the Federal Reserve cut rates by less than he wanted them to, it's fairly plausible to conclude he's trying to spook markets enough to force the Fed to cut further. Not sure if there's a polite way to say this, but this would be stupid.
So, don't jump to any conclusions, since this is an imperfect indicator and trade concerns are a bigger factor than domestic weakness (though those of course will trickle through over time - Trump tacitly admitted as much when he delayed categories yesterday to not impact the Christmas retail season). But, yeah, I'd say the odds of a recession before the end of 2020 are higher than they were a year ago, and the bond market is flashing a warning signal about investor risk appetites here.
There's a stretch to be made here linking CNN's implication that Trump's repressed homosexuality may be starting to leak out, and the sexual repression in fanatical religious groups like ISIS, but I am way too unambitious for that.
Also concerning - at the moment, the 30 year Treasury is yielding about 2.03%. This is an all-time low. On 7/31 that was 2.54%, and the 10yr was at 2.04%. At the start of the year, the 10yr was 2.68%, more than 1% higher than it is today, and the 30 year was 3.01%.
That's a lot of numbers all at once, but yields on extremely long-dated Treasury bonds, carrying a LOT of interest rate risk (meaning investors will get crushed if rates rise even modestly) have come screaming in, over the past two weeks, to unprecedented lows. That's a trade that only makes sense if you think rates are going lower still, and that's a scenario that is most likely consistent with the stock market falling off a cliff.
Also worth thinking about - the 1M Treasury yield is currently 1.99%, while the 3 month is 1.96%. We're within a couple basis points of the 30 year inverting vs the very front of the curve. I only have records as far back as 2001 for the 1M, but the only time that'd ever happened in the past was briefly during the 2nd quarter of 2007, and we all know what happened in the 4th quarter of that year and the first of the following.
So, this ISN'T the greatest economy in the history of our country?!
WHAT ELSE HAS HE BEEN LYING AB ahem.... Keeping it together now...
I mean, unemployment is low, inflation is low, workforce participation is up, the stock market has hit a whole bunch of record highs under Trump, we had a couple quarters of 3%+ GDP growth, if you want to cherry pick your data points you can definitely put together a really swell-sounding montage real on the Great American Economy.
It's just, there's a LOT more going on than the highlight reel that is Trump's twitter account admits, and some of it is pretty dire.
Trump is the world's second therapist and analyst.
I think I was just having a weird moment there when I was posting all of that. I'm just at some odd point where all of this insane stuff that would have had almost any previous president have a mob come upon them is happening, but in the back of my head I keep going "... And somehow he STILL will get reelected."
Oh, the Dow dropped 800 points today.
I'm sure DJT and Co. were hoping they could hold out another year. The timing of this makes it very inconvenient to blame on the Dems. Shame.
Yes, but he has already found a new fall guy. It's all Powelll at the Federal Reserves fault. Most folks are as educated in how the economy works as DJT that most the country will believe it.
And now reports that Epstein had broken bones in his neck. I am sure they left him a chair and hook on the ceiling so he could properly asphyxiate himself. I don't see how this whole event doesn't devolve into conspiracy theories on top of conspiracy theories.
I'm going to preface this by saying I give ZERO value to the concept of winning over or changing the mind of Trumpies. I argue about this shit with my friends constantly that waste their time arguing with their family on Facebook or reading /The_Donald or /pol and they're always like "Yeah but...", ignoring the fact that the audience have already deified and absolved Trump of any wrongdoing or culpability, forever and always. So I give zero fucks about appealing to them, I'm more concerned with reality.
As far as the reality of things is concerned, Powell was Trump's pick. He dumped on Yellen and made clear he needed HIS guy there, so it's not like he inherited him or begrudgingly accepted him. This is like typical Trump where he picks the person and then he assaults their character or the abilities so that he can play it both ways; when things are good "there's my boy!", when things are bad "that bum I never liked him in the first place".
He's further responsible for all of this because the first three or four times he complained about the guy and signaled wanting a change (or at least acting that way for his audience), he picked hilariously unqualified fucks like Stephen Moore. If you don't get the guy for the fact he picked a loser in the first place, you can blame him for the fact he couldn't come up with a competent replacement either.
Bingo. Yellen was (IMO) a remarkably competent, impressive Chairwoman of the Federal Reserve. Powell was cut from the same policy cloth as she was, has maybe lacked some of her press conference finesse, but in return the only real "advantages" he offers relative to Yellen is he's a man, and looks better in a suit.
I'll only nit-pick that Moore wasn't intended to replace Powell, but was supposed to take an empty seat on the Federal Reserve Board. Also, while Moore would have been a historically bad pick had it not been followed up with Herman Cain, his picks before that (including Powell, and Nellie Liang) had generally been pretty good - respected, moderate, qualified, credentialed economists. Even Marvin Goodfriend wasn't completely horrible, if hardly an encouraging pick. His two nominations to replace Cain and Moore after both withdrew nominations, Waller isn't bad, though Shelton is a clear partisan "yes-woman" pick who I'd be surprised if she gets seated.
The first year of his term, though, he kept talking about wanting lower rates, yet kept appointing - which, again, is the only way for him to directly influence Fed policy - sensible moderates unlikely to cut rates without justification. It's like he didn't realize he couldn't just tell them to cut rates and they would, which being perfectly honest here is actually possible.
The odds of the Clintons or Trump killing him are essentially zero - certainly not the Clinton's style despite all the conspiracy theories, and despite Trump's mob ties from his Atlantic City days I can't even believe he'd be stupid enough to take out a hit on someone in a federal prison while President.
The odds of someone killing Epstein? These injuries can happen with hanging, but are unusual, and he cultivated a network of very powerful friends, some of whom absolutely are going to want him silenced. I wouldn't rule it out.
I've also heard reports, so far unsubstantiated, that AG Barr met secretly with Epstein before his death. Anyone?
At this point, nothing shocks me.
"PImping underage azz to the powerful" is a complex and risky but potentially INSANELY REWARDING persona to play for a spy
But the masters running the circus would be forced to end him asap to avoid burning decades of hard earned leverage for sure, and possibly the very people they had leverage on, should said entrapment genius ever be put in a place from where talking to authorities would be a tempting play
Snopes says no, and how he'd get in and out with his security detail is a legitimate point. Though the use of the absolute "never" always worries me.
Considering he seems two brain cells rich of playing with his own shit, I'd imagine the wide variety of picks (including some reasonable ones) are an indication the recommendations are coming from a variety of people as opposed to coming from Trump himself (sans Moore and Cain which probably WERE his).