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It turns out that the year 2000 marks a grim historical milestone of sorts for our nation. For whatever reasons, the Great American Escalator, which had lifted successive generations of Americans to ever higher standards of living and levels of social well-being, broke down around then--and broke down very badly.
The warning lights have been flashing, and the klaxons sounding, for more than a decade and a half. But our pundits and prognosticators and professors and policymakers, ensconced as they generally are deep within the bubble, were for the most part too distant from the distress of the general population to see or hear it. (So much for the vaunted "information era" and "big-data revolution.") Now that those signals are no longer possible to ignore, it is high time for experts and intellectuals to reacquaint themselves with the country in which they live and to begin the task of describing what has befallen the country in which we have lived since the dawn of the new century.
... In some circles people still widely believe, as one recent New York Times business-section article cluelessly insisted before the inauguration, that "Mr. Trump will inherit an economy that is fundamentally solid." But this is patent nonsense. By now it should be painfully obvious that the U.S. economy has been in the grip of deep dysfunction since the dawn of the new century. And in retrospect, it should also be apparent that America's strange new economic maladies were almost perfectly designed to set the stage for a populist storm.
Its findings will be presented in several months, by which time the make-up of parliament will have changed dramatically following the election... While most Dutch voters say they favour retaining the euro, the eurosceptic far-right party of Geert Wilders is expected to book large gains, though it is unlikely to win enough votes to form a government.''
The change enraged hedge funds who had bought Fannie and Freddie's shares and found themselves expropriated. The investors' lawsuit held that the government overstepped its authority by seizing all profits. A federal court dismissed that claim in 2014; it has taken until now for an appeals court to uphold the most important parts of the decision. An odd aspect of the ruling is that it largely ignored the substantive arguments but concluded the court lacked the authority to curb the government's actions.
The firms are hardly robust. The Treasury is running down their capital by $600m a year. By 2018 they will have none left. From then on, should the firms make a loss, they will need to draw on an emergency line of credit from the government. Doing so would be characterised by some as a second bail-out.
President Trump Must Replace The Dollar With Gold As The Global Currency To Make America Great Again
To turn the IMF into a world central bank would, of course, be anathema to Trump's economic nationalism. To subordinate the dollar to the IMF's SDR would be equivalent to lowering Old Glory and replacing the American flag with the flag of the United Nations on every flagpole in America. Unthinkable under a Trump administration.
That leaves the [final] option, to "adopt a modernized international gold standard, as proposed in the 1960s by Rueff and in 1984 by his protégé Lewis E. Lehrman ... and then-Rep. Jack Kemp" (whose eponymous foundation I advise). To this one should add, as Forbes.com contributor Nathan Lewis has shrewdly observed, the removal of tax and regulatory barriers to the use of gold as currency... We have the gold. Bringing back the gold standard would not be very hard to do.
The head of Canada's largest lender said Toronto housing is "running hot" and is fueled by a "concerning mix of drivers" that include lack of supply, continued low rates, rising foreign money and speculative activity. Similar circumstances in Vancouver prompted British Columbia's government last year to impose a 15 percent tax on foreign buyers.
The comments from the bank CEO come as frustration grows over the unaffordability of properties in Canada's biggest city. The average home price in Toronto jumped 22 percent in January from the previous year, the fifth straight month of gains topping 20 percent. Listings have dropped off, down by half from last year, squeezing prices further.
Since the tax was imposed in Vancouver, monthly transactions in the metro region fell on average by 36 percent compared to a year earlier, according to data from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. Prices for prized single-family detached homes had been rising in double digits last year. In the past six months, they've fallen 6.6 percent to an average C$1.47 million, according to board figures released earlier this month.
Investment bank Lehman Brothers is responsible for the U.S.'s largest ever bankruptcy filing, triggering the start of the 2008 financial crisis. It held assets of $600 billion -- a fraction of the estimated $46 trillion at risk under a break-up of the EMU.
While central banks could be expected to step in to secure the system, as they did during the 2008 crash, the long lead times and multiple legal obstacles of an EMU break-up would do little to manage the immediate aftermath of such a wide-reaching crash, said Deutsche Bank.
The likelihood of a French referendum on its membership of the EU was called further into question Wednesday when independent candidate Emmanuel Macron, who is currently seen in second place to Le Pen in first round opinion polls, formed an alliance with Democratic Movement leader Francois Bayrou.
The sweeping order directs every federal agency to establish a task force to ensure each has a team to research all regulations and take aim at those deemed burdensome to the U.S. economy and designate regulatory reform officers within 60 days and must report on the progress within 90 days.
"Excessive regulation is killing jobs, driving companies out of our country like never before," Trump said before signing the order. "Every regulation should have to pass a simple test; does it make life better or safer for American workers or consumers?"''
We like the spirit behind this, and think it's a good idea to have a dedicated officer within each agency who is independent and is focusing on regulatory efficiency (kind of like the inspectors general system). However, Trump's remarks shows he doesn't really understand what the problem is -- the issue isn't that we aren't already taking enough time to weigh new regulations, get feedback from all sides, and weigh the pro's and con's (we already do this -- agonizingly-so): the real problem is that there's no compulsory force to cut through all the opposing interests and impose the optimal outcome based on the benefit to the general public (or whoever the intended stakeholders are). Instead, the preferences of the most powerful/vocal lobbies (or secondarily, the agency staff themselves) dominate. It isn't clear how yet ANOTHER monitor (we already have the GAO and CBO and CRS) is going to "right" the system. Generally, these oversight agencies already do amazing work -- it's just that "no one listens to them" (i.e., they have no power over the political process).
Thus, we don't expect this to work: while it might help in some cases for a while by adding some useful information to the public debate over particular regulations, it will likely just become another politicized facility that will become integrated into the DC sausage factory. Remember, the laws are being mandated by Congress in the first place, and the President can't simply refuse to implement them -- even if someone's analysis shows there's overall more cost than benefit.
To really make any meaningful, sustainable progress on this front, you'd need a law that puts enforcement behind the cost-benefit analysis of all future laws, and regulations implementing them; i.e., regulations can only be implemented if they can be done at a net benefit, and laws can only go into effect if their regulations can be implemented thusly (and this would be reviewed periodically over time, since you can't always tell from the outset). In essence, give the GAO's (and other oversight organizations) analyses some actual TEETH.
So, unfortunately, this just demonstrates another case where it is clear that Trump's people simply don't know how things already work, and what's already in place. You have to know what, in specific, is broken, to fix it. Oh, and you might have to actually work with Congress to get them to surrender some of their arbitrary power...
GOP Draft Health Care Bill Loads Up on HSAs and the "Cadillac Tax", But Cuts Medicaid, Insurance Subsidies
What isn't included is a guarantee that people with pre-existing conditions are able to obtain coverage. Members of the House, however, introduced a bill last week to preserve the pre-existing condition ban, signaling that it would have to be passed separately.
The bill dismantles some major components of the ACA, including the expansion of Medicaid and the subsidies to purchase health insurance. In its place, Americans who need assistance to purchase health care will receive a tax credit - able to be received in advanced on a monthly basis - based on age. A person under 30 is eligible for a $2000 tax credit while a person over 60 is eligible for a $4000 credit.
The measure also also creates state-based high risk pools for people who don't have access to insurance. The federal government would start in 2018 providing $15 billion to help fund the high risk pools, but the number decreases to $10 billion by 2020 and beyond.
The measure does not directly get rid of the individual and employer mandate to purchase and provide health care, but it zeroes out the penalty, making violation of the mandate non-enforceable.
Republicans, struggling to figure out a way to pay for their health insurance plan, puts in place a tax on the most expensive employer-based health insurance plans, which is an expanded version of the so-called Cadillac tax.
The measure repeals unpopular taxes opposed by the business community and health field, including the medical device tax and the tax on health insurance, also known as the HIT tax, that helped to pay for the ACA.
Dozens more former Caja Madrid senior executives, most of whom are closely connected to either, or both, of the country's two main political parties and/or unions also face three to six years in prison. They were found guilty by Spain's National High Court of misusing company credit cards. Those cards drained money directly from the scarce funds of Caja Madrid, which at the height of Spain's banking crisis was merged with six other failed savings banks into Bankia, which shortly thereafter collapsed and ended up receiving the biggest bail out in Spanish history, costing taxpayers over €20 billion, to date.
The SEC is expected to deliver a decision on the proposed Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust by March 11. Two other bitcoin-focused ETFs are also under consideration.
Though some have speculated that the path to a bitcoin ETF may be easier under the administration of President Donald Trump, Spencer Bogart, a bitcoin analyst at Needham and Co., believes chances of approval are less than 1-in-4.