Car industry hits chip blockage; China commodity prices still rising; Canada promises firepower; US data weak; SEC to shake things up; UST 10yr at 1.09%; oil and gold down; NZ$1 = 71.3 USc; TWI-5 = 72.9

Car industry hits chip blockage; China commodity prices still rising; Canada promises firepower; US data weak; SEC to shake things up; UST 10yr at 1.09%; oil and gold down; NZ$1 = 71.3 USc; TWI-5 = 72.9

Here's our summary of key economic events over the weekend that affect New Zealand, with news this may be the week the US gets a new President, but he inherits a total economic and social mess.

Around the world, car factories are closing or on reduced shifts. The problem is that semiconductor chip makers have sky-high demand from manufacturers of consumer electronics and household appliances which are much larger markets for them than carmakers, and the carmakers are seriously short of supplies. Sharply reduced car production is fueling fears of double-dip recession in 2021, both in the EU and the US. And perhaps in Japan as well.

China is due to report 2020 GDP later today and is widely expected to record +6.1% pa growth in Q4 and an annual rise of +2.1%. In 2021 they expect growth closer to +8%. They are closing the gap on the US fast and are now expected to have a larger economy by 2028, two years earlier than the pre-pandemic estimates. Currently the US generates 16% of world GDP and China will record 14.5% in 2020. China's share was 12% in 2016 when the US share was 16.5%.

Of course, they are miles behind on a per capita basis, but even on that front, while the progress is somewhat chaotic, they are also catching up fast.

Chinese commodity prices are still rising, with corn and rice posting further gains, and coal prices pushing up harder on rising demand. At least the Chinese have arrested the rise of the iron ore price although it is staying at high levels and showing no sign of dipping, despite official pressures.

In Canada, they are increasingly worried about surviving the next few quarters economically. The Canadian prime minister has instructed their government to use “whatever fiscal firepower” is needed over the coming weeks and months until their economy improves. But he also says they must do that in such a way as to “avoid creating new permanent spending.”

Meanwhile in Australia, their government isn't worried at all, saying growth there will come without any more fiscal assistance programs being required.

The total value of new loan commitments for housing in Australia and their value of owner occupier home loan commitments both reached record highs in November 2020. They were up +5.6% from October to AU$24 bln, and were +24% higher than in November 2019. This latest level is a record high for them. Interestingly, the owner-occupied rise was +31% whereas the rise of investor lending was only +4%, year-on-year.

In the US, the new Administration is gearing up to launch a US$1.9 tln relief and rescue program for the US.

They certainly need something dramatic.

After a -1.4% fall in November, analysts had expected US retail sales to be unchanged in December. They were disappointed as the official data shows a further -0.7% decline on a seasonally-adjusted basis and capping a dismal year and ending with three straight months of retreats. For the full calendar year retail sales came in just +0.6% higher than for all of 2019.

But December industrial production came in much better than expected, up +1.6% from November and reducing the year-on-year decline to -3.6%.

However, going into January, the New York Fed's Empire State factory survey isn't too flash. Bad local weather on top of the pandemic lockdowns had their timid expansion nearly evaporate in the month.

Also retreating is the latest UofM consumer sentiment survey. The surveyors call the retreats 'trivial' but they are down almost -2% in a month and down -20% year-on-year. Perhaps in light of the sharper bite from the pandemic they are not as bad as they had expected.

Wall Street ended last week with a small selloff, but the S&P500 futures market suggests it will open with a much larger -1.2% selldown. And a shakeup is coming with the expected appointment of Gary Gensler to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission. He is expected to be its most aggressive regulator in two decades.

The latest global compilation of COVID-19 data is here. The global tally is rising faster, now at 94,702,000 and up +1,284,000 in two days. We are heading for 100 mln in about a week now mainly because the UK variant is taking off worldwide now. It is still very grim everywhere except in our region. Global deaths reported now exceed 2,025,000 and +24,000 since this time Saturday as death rates rise everywhere.

But the largest number of reported cases globally are still in the US, which rose +426,000 for their tally to reach 24,328,000. The US remains the global epicenter of the virus. The number of active cases rose overnight and is now at 9,577,000 and that level is up +194,000 in just two days, so many more new cases than recoveries and again by a substantial margin. Their death total is up to 406,000 however (+7000), a daily disaster that they brought on themselves with a woeful response. Their CDC is sounding the alarm, now expecting more than 90,000 more deaths over the next three weeks, stunning. The US now has a COVID death rate of 1221/mln, sadly comparing with the disastrous UK level (1311) where deaths are surging. Only Belgium and Italy have a higher rate and both of those have slowed substantially now.

In Australia, their community resurgence is back under control although officials are on high alert over the risks from the UK variant which is starting to show up in managed isolation intercepts. That takes their all-time cases reported to 28,708, and only +39 more cases yesterday with all in managed isolation, mostly related to the Melbourne tennis tournament. 215 of these cases are 'active' (-42). Reported deaths are unchanged at 909.

The UST 10yr yield will start today at just under 1.09% in a risk-aversion tone. Their 2-10 rate curve is unchanged at +95 bps, their 1-5 curve is at +35 bps, and their 3m-10 year curve is also unchanged at +101 bps. The Australian Govt 10 year yield is down -3 bps from Friday at 1.03%. The China Govt 10 year yield is firmer at 3.16%, while the New Zealand Govt 10 year yield has followed the trend lower and now at 1.03%.

The price of gold was down -US$19 on Saturday in New York at US$1829/oz. Silver also fell quite sharply, down -2.8%.

Oil prices are just on US$52/bbl in the US and slipping, while the international price is now under US$55/bbl and softer for a fifth straight day.

And the Kiwi dollar is much weaker today from this time Friday at 71.3 USc, a drop of -¾c. Against the Australian dollar we are softer as well at 92.6 AUc. Against the euro we are now under 59.1 euro cents. That means our TWI-5 is now down at 72.9 and a -50 bps retreat since Friday.

The bitcoin price is still slipping, down by another -1.1% since this time Saturday and now at US$35,958 although it did get as low as US$33,870 at one point. The bitcoin rate is charted in the exchange rate set below.

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89 Comments

Thinking upon Andrewj's comments about farming I am reminded of discussions that used to take place on this site, about ownership and control of the means of production, in particular land. There is the theory that the best outcomes for a society are when private ownership of land is facilitated.

We seem to have faciliated a system that is now going the other way. A rental property is not private ownership, corporate farms are not private ownership, strip malls are not private property. Is the best society one with lots of smaller scale owner operators? Except perhaps where scale is required for industrial purposes.

The term should really be stewardship.

Stands to reason that people will have a greater care about something they own, and will put work into something they derive value from.

No. A rental property is private ownership (private landlord). A corporate farm is private ownership (private shareholders). Strip malls are private property (normally private individuals owners or syndicates).

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This is where people fall down in clarity of thinking, of understanding principles. The principle is stewardship, and if you are renting it then it is not being stewarded by the tenant. The occupier has to derive the benefit, the landlord is a parasite in this scenario and there is a transfer of wealth away from the occupier. No, a rental property is not private ownership.

Traditionally, economists such as Friedman maintained that a businesses only responsibility within a society was to turn a profit and create job opportunities. We now realise this scope is far too narrow - a business can only survive if the society provides the conditions for it to operate free of arbitrary or illegal actions. Modern society demands that social and environmental issues caused by business are acknowledged and addressed, hence triple bottom line reporting etc. Sustainable development is the future

Theres nothing sustainable about development

I agree but would like to be proven otherwise. The theory, as usual, sounds promising. But it's the implementation that is the key. I think until we change our consumption habits and stop over populating the planet, any other advancements will be negligible.

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overpopulation is absolutely the core of the problem - resources per capita
Added to an economic system which mandates maximising of consumption and we have a problem

"Modern society demands that social and environmental issues caused..."

When the rubber hits the road, the only thing (the individuals in) a modern society demands is a Job / Income stream
Stuff the consequences

Maslow Vs Marx

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They are private ownership.

Calling landlords parasites is heinous. It's just disgusting. They are you and me. Most are not well off at all: just trying to get ahead, and providing housing cheaper than the government can. What you are doing is the bedeviling by socialism of the system which has set billions free from poverty and tyranny: free market capitalism which can only exist with private property rights.

I forgot how dreadful it can be in here.

it's government policy, even if it's by default.

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parasitic income streams
passive income streams
its all the same
a debt ponzi leverage to push resource use over the brink

Capitalism is simply the most efficient at it

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"free market capitalism"...do you really think that we operate under that system now Mark? There is no such thing as a free market ...
One of the most deceptive ideas continuously sounded by the Right (and its fathomless think tanks and media outlets) is that the “free market” is natural and inevitable, existing outside and beyond government. So whatever inequality or insecurity it generates is beyond our control. And whatever ways we might seek to reduce inequality or insecurity – to make the economy work for us – are unwarranted constraints on the market’s freedom, and will inevitably go wrong.

By this view, if some people aren’t paid enough to live on, the market has determined they aren’t worth enough. If others rake in billions, they must be worth it. If millions of Americans remain unemployed or their paychecks are shrinking or they work two or three part-time jobs with no idea what they’ll earn next month or next week, that’s too bad; it’s just the outcome of the market.

"free market capitalism" - yes it is crap but the alternatives are usually far worse. A religion based autocracy being the worst.

And it's not a free market when property prices are not ever permitted to fall. A free market has price discovery both ways.

Neither is it a free market when the wealth of working / saving folk is transferred to asset owners both through policy that inflates property prices AND through policy that taxes those same working / saving folk and provides a non-means tested pension to wealthy asset owners, AND subsidises their yields through welfare subsidies.

'that the “free market” is natural and inevitable, existing outside and beyond government.'

That is not a definition of a free market, ie without Govt. involvement.

The only two alternatives we are being offered is crony capitalism or crony socialism. Both of which have less or more Govt. control by way of the regulations that allow them to exist.

What we need is the light hand of Govt. that then allows for a truly free market to operate, which then enables supply to equal demand at the most economic cost. An example would be that our house prices would be approx. half what they are now and stable over time, except for nominal inflation.

This light hand of Govt. is what Adam Smith described as the invisible hand of the market.

National's hands were in their pockets (playing with what I don't know). Labours hands are increasingly getting more involved and run the rise of 'heavy hands. The heaviest hands of all on the left hold a hammer in one hand and a sickle in the other.

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Ok Mark Richardson 1965

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But its true. They gain ownership via leverage, not effort (aided and abetted by govt policy) funded by the captive tenant. Landlords are the worst of the worse and should be called out whenever one meets one.

That's rubbish. I happily rented for many years and preferred the flexibility. The houses were fine and I never had problems with any of the landlords.
We need more options than just "own home" vs "state house".

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I wouldn't call landlords parasites, it's dehumanising.
But they are parasitic on the labour of others.
When a landlord uses equity to buy a house and then rents it out, they are creating nothing. They are taking money from wage-earners into their own pockets. I don't know how you can deny that that is parasitic. Without the money created by the labour of others, their asset has little value. It's a transfer of wealth from the working to the non-working (who yes, probably worked at some point to gain their initial wealth, but in most cases have magnified it thanks to bank-provided leverage rather than by working 400 hours a week. Please point me to an example of a large-scale landlord who paid for all their properties in cash earned through their labour.)
"Most are not well off at all" is a total nonsense, btw. If you own a second property, you are wealthier than a renter who just won Lotto.

And where did the landlord get the equity to buy the house?

Especially now with RBNZ having killed yield, if an individual cannot earn a passive income how are they to retire? Or in your world do we all just die at our desks and in ditches with no quality of life at all?

You're welcome to the subsistence world you would create.

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You don't retire, you earn your keep you lazy bastard. No human has a right to live off the efforts of others, but you only seem to see this when it suits your bias against socialism (which I am advocating quite the opposite of despite your lack of cognition).

As I said: I'm very glad I don't live in the subsistence economy you would create where we have no quality of life. That's exactly what free market capitalism has brought us out from: it was the end of feudalism and having to work until you drop. Sadly, though, free market capitalism is largely gone, central banking has destroyed it more thoroughly than the Soviets could ever have wished. And just look at the minds on here.

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Dissonant minds indeed. Shame.

Which country has the highest rate of homelessness?
New Zealand
The highest rate, nearly 1 percent, is in New Zealand, where more than 40,000 people live on the streets or in emergency housing or substandard shelters. Ten countries, including Italy, Japan and Spain, report homeless rates of less than a 10th of 1 percent.Jan 21, 2020

That's largely the result of now generational welfarism ... starting with the DPB. Incentives always matter.

We have massive generational welfarism in our subsidies to property investors and our policies that drive house prices higher and protect them from any possible falls. Incentives matter! This disincentivises work.

All whilst taking those same folks' wages and transferring them to wealthy older asset owners in universal welfarism regardless of need.

Property prices are a factor of RBNZ stimulunacy - and per your comment above, you're right, with central banks having destroyed price discovery, we are a command economy, we are not a free market capitalist economy; that *is* the problem - anyway, also lack of supply plus ludicrous build cost due to regulation.

How are property owners subsidised?

NZ is only top of the table due to a very broad definition of who we classifly as homeless. "people sharing accommodation with someone else’s household" counts as homelessness in the NZ stats, but not elsewhere.

Does that include flatmates etc?

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..increasing the NZ debt burden by billions so we can lend more on the same ####box house is a sure way of creating your subsistence economy! Crumbling suburbs abound thanks to the investment strategy of landlords.

When did interest become a human right?
Is it so unthinkable to save money earnt from labour and then spend it in retirement?
Are we all entitled to have wealth accumulating up til the moment of our death?
Given the scarcity of actual resources, this is simply not possible without depriving others.
That's the problem with laissez-faire capitalists, they think unearned wealth is morally superior to that earned through hard work.

Mark H - I agree with what have to say but through in a few extra's -
- It was the Helen Clark Government that saw rental accommodation housing was just to big for the Government to handle and encouraged Private investors openly into the market, many of whom still recalled the massive losts they made in the 1987 Sharemarket collapse !
- The RMA whilst good in context has added ridiculous complexities and cost to land and house development.
- The collapse of the Finance companies post GFC approx $5 billion was the major source of finance for developers.
- And the biggest one for me is why cannot the Government exempt GST off a new build, a one off for a FHB , must be keep 10 years before sold, or/and such new builds could be totally tax free - probably reduce the cost by 30% ??
- Going hard out with my socialism hat, the FLP could be passed to qualifying new build FHB ( for 10 years ) at 0.25% + proccessing fee say 0.5% !!
There are so many things that could be changed to encourage more development and focus away from existing property that would most likely need the use of large Chinese construction companies that come in and do everything on a massive scale then leave again - 10 year program ? Used in many parts of the world particularly in big infrastructure projects.
Food for thought hope Amercian magic can be glued back together !!

Hi Shoreman: yes, we are apparently on different ends of the political spectrum, but I pretty much agree with your opening analysis.

Mark H - I am a Capitalist and wealthy from being one, but feel rather than the ball just being kicked around and around some new out of the box ideas like stated above need to approached. I have been no fan of Ardern but the Covid response was so good for NZ but clearly crisis management is her strength nothing else. Putting blame on landlords by some, is not understanding the history of our current issues, it is Government policy that should set the framework for a more balanced society. Suggestions of a CGT on housing alone is short sighted/to small, new policy needs to include everyone like a CGT on all things including the family home so everyone has skin in the outcome.
Government policy needs to be interlinked across all policy to avoid unforeseen outcomes, like the current Labour policy on forestry ( I'm a long time investor ) good land is being converted to forestry when it should be consuming marginal land because of the after effects of policy on the billion tree political posturing stunt.
Our Economy is free running as most free markets are but to achieve outcomes that we choose as a collective society we require a level of central planning and regulation.
That is based on my own thoughts that open markets combined with the rapid evolution of technology is leaving to many people behind. For those who have vision and can adapt well it's a dream but for those who cannot it is a trap that is closing in on them.
There are lessons from the US, some extreme around health care and welfare, they clearly have gone to far down that track with a us and them divide, a empty cry for help that gave rise to Trump as there saviour/mercenary that would fight for them ( or not ).
Covid and Ardern showed how deep and caring we are as a nation throughout the lockdowns, the Government needs to understand that we are all together and start shaping a future we all can have a part in to make NZ truly a awesome place to live for everyone.

"creating nothing" I don't think is really the case. If a cashed up (equity-ied up) investor has a new house built to be rent out, they are creating something, aren't they? Yes that is uncommon, perhaps because renters are imperfect like all of us, so an investor would often prefer to outbid a regular home buyer for existing property (in a good location). But that creates more pressure for someone else to have a new home built, so something is still being created.
However the system does at times not work very well at all, housing becomes hard to build and an excess supply of money twists things into a lovely ponzi where it is only the perceived future value of the thing that justifies the current ridiculous value.

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I agree landlords are productive if they build a house.
If not, they're just outbidding someone else.
Which is why I'd advocate a zero-tax regime for new builds and punitive taxation on landlords buying existing stock.

I have been an accidental landlord a couple of times in the past. Would you rent out a brand new house? I wouldn't.
And I have been a careful renter too, but I wouldn't want to rent a new unmarked house either.

Why not rent out a brand new house, if renting it out was the intention all along?
It would have real benefits -- wouldn't have to spend much on maintenance for a few years, for one thing.

True about the maintenance on the exterior. For the interior of a new house a careless tenant can cost more in maintenance to get it back to the standard they received it in. For a long term rental you would just accept this as a part of business.
But what about short term letting of your existing home eg if you are transferred away for a year or two...would that fall under your punitive tax regime? I can see it being can of worms.

Yes, something needs to be done. I don't have the answer but one immediate step to take would be to ban any mortgage over 30 years. Because that will be the next cab off the rank to keep prices rising. At current interest rates a 40 year mortgage would allow about 20% bigger loan than on a 30 year mortgage with same monthly payments.

MH... agree with your post although I do feel the accommodation supplement (and who it really supports) is equally dreadful. Don't you?

Of course he doesn't..its the the "free" market working!

That's a small part of rentals, but okay, take the accommodation away: definitely.

Where do those tenants go though? We put them up in motels at ten times the cost? Because that's what is happening.

Easy to introduce a staged reduction in A/S alongside a formula of rent price controls. According to the stats NZ inflation 'basket' - housing and utilities only make up 27% of household expenditure. Hence, regulate it so.

But if there is a textbook case of unintended consequences then the deleterious effects of rent controls is that textbook case. The most studied example of how regulation achieves the opposite of what you're trying to achieve. You'll drastically reduce the rental housing stock and increase homelessness.

I think one of the biggest problems with our collective ownership models is that they remove responsibility and decision-making from ownership.

I think the age of technology, robotics and mechanization call all of this into question. You only have to look at the gargantuan fortunes the likes of Bezos, Zuckerberg and co have amassed with almost no chance of anything overtaking them.
We will have to rethink much of this, and, I believe, come to a point where we understand that some things must be in the hands of the collective while others are better in the hands of the individual and that rapid uptake of technology that displaces humans can and should not mean that an individual or just a few people end up profiting massively from it, while the masses go hungry.

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Tech billionaires can scrooge-mcduck themselves to the point of orgasm in giant vaults if they feel so inclined for all I care - the things that should be off-limits for widespread profiteering are housing, healthcare and education. Frankly after people have that as the bare minimum then I'd be inclined to just people do what they want from a commercial/monopolistic point of view - but we need to designate some things as 'not for profit' and send investors elsewhere to seek their fortunes. It's not in our long-term interests to have every man and his dog piling into residential property, nor to maintain a punitive student loan regime in a low-wage economy that protects certain classes of investment from the basic concept of risk. I'd go further than that and suggest that it's immoral.

Gmnz, extend that to say that in our society, generally speaking, there is just too much authority and too little responsibility. In military terms those that are in the front line of the ranks for the medals, but well behind the lines for the action. Culture in local government is a glaring example.

I work around local government people, and I hear the phrase 'All care, and no responsibility' depressingly often.

hence their motto “Omnes Auctoritates, Nihil Responsabilitas.”

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Home ownership includes people in a society rater than marginalises them. New Zealand needs to get house prices down and home ownership rates back up.

Interesting stuff to read.

international freight from Wolf

https://wolfstreet.com/2021/01/16/massive-inflation-in-shipping-costs-an...

More interesting is this link to twitter, he has a good knowledge on shipping

This from John Authers daily bog on Bloomberg

‘A Ludicrous Indicator
For all the uncertainty, there is plenty of extreme behavior going on. It’s possible to debate whether this is indicative of a bubble, or merely of speculative froth at the margin, but the signs of excess not seen in 20 years are unmistakable. My favorite new indicator of this is the Bespoke Investment “ludicrous” indicator. This adds up the total number of U.S. companies that have a market cap of $500 million or more (so they’re not tiny), trade at a multiple of 10 or more times last year’s sales, and have doubled in the last three months. Even Tesla Inc. didn’t quite make all these criteria. But the number of companies that did is startlingly high:

The fact that more than 600 companies meet all of these ludicrous requirements, and that this number dwarfs anything seen in a decade, is deeply alarming. On the other hand, this is still less than half the number of stocks that met all of these criteria at the top of the dot-com bubble 21 years ago. That suggests we are still a way from matching such insanity. This could be January 1999, with much more money to be made before the crash, rather than February 2000. Presumably, such thinking motivates the people prepared to buy such stocks. 
However construed, these numbers are both ludicrous and perilous.’

Whats wrong with farming

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Er3MTOyXIAEF_IE?format=png&name=small

Good question Andrew, what is wrong with farming? Why is there no sign of life in land prices when real estate is going mad? Are kiwi investors one dimensional ?

Risk. Houses are guaranteed income, whereas farms are not. Banks much prefer to lend for rentals than farms.

Banks have less capital requirements for housing, safe as housing, farmers dangerous, low return high risk, danger danger Will Robinson.

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Difference -
Farmers used to be subsidised via Livestock incentive scheme etc. Not any more
Landlords are still subsidised via WFF etc.

Excluding capital gains, how has the returns from farming changed over the years?

Now that graph really is parasitic.

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I keep thinking about the circus that the USA is becoming. I know Trump is an outlier, I don't know if he was cheated of the election, i don't really care. However lets try this, I am positive the the Democrat Primaries were a set up. Biden/ Harris was decided before hand. I remember Gabbard wiping the floor with Harris in a debate, Harris just sneered and laughed at her, she knew the outcome.

Whats happening at present feels like Washington telling all the Trump voters, " how dear you come to Washington and threaten our comfortable little world. There will be bad outcomes from their resentment and anger towards republicans. There are too many of them to ignore.

Terrible, just as well we're a Commonwealth country really. ;-)

Even so very likely, Trump may have been re-elected had the pandemic not taken hold. Firstly because it undid the economic recovery of which he boasted, even if that may have been fallacy. Secondly, but more importantly, the pandemic introduced fear. Ordinary folk no longer were happy in home and back yard and inevitably came to lay blame somewhere. From talking to our old neighbours over there, there was certainly that sort of swing in that sort of community.

Doesn't seem a good idea for the ruling elites to make mortal enemies of Trump supporters via insult and ridicule.

That first stage of grief again.

Trump 2024? If the economy flops, standard of living fall rapidly and former President Trump turns up in a few years pretending he can "feed the multitides". Next time though I'm sure he'd take no prisoners.

I've been told a story about Julius Caesar, which I am unsure is true, or the real origin of it, but is essentially him offering an acquaintance the same deal. Don't worry about the election he says, that outcome will be assured. But we have to give the people the illusion of control.

The USA just lost the illusion.

Trouble is no double going to foment out of that.

Same with QE:

If central bankers have walked softly all these years, the so-called big stick they told you they carried with them was what Ben Bernanke had openly talked about the government’s “printing press” all the way back in November 2002. People took him literally when he was really doing this as a way to more forcefully back up the rhetorical method of moral suasion. If you fight the Fed, he was saying, then you’ll be sorry.

So don’t fight. Please.

This thing is powerful that it can conjure the exact mode necessary at just the right time. Under threat of deflation, the very subject of his talk, that would mean a forcefully inflationary path back to growth and health; and if it gets to that, you better get out of the press’ way. As Bernanke put it:

"Like gold, U.S. dollars have value only to the extent that they are strictly limited in supply. But the U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost. By increasing the number of U.S. dollars in circulation, or even by credibly threatening to do so, the U.S. government can also reduce the value of a dollar in terms of goods and services, which is equivalent to raising the prices in dollars of those goods and services. We conclude that, under a paper-money system, a determined government can always generate higher spending and hence positive inflation. [emphasis added]"

You no doubt recognize Jay Powell’s “digital money printing” and “flood” in what his predecessor’s predecessor was claiming.

The question, therefore, is why go through all the mess and bother? Why the need for this convoluted game of trying to get everyone to act on its behalf? If it’s so easy, then just use the thing, do it yourself!

Proponents argue that this is needed to keep things within respectable tolerances. At some point, though, people have to wonder: OK, if it’s so simple and easy, what do you need everyone else for?

Because, paraphrasing Mark Twain (or Abe Lincoln), better to keep the government’s printing press in its back pocket and be thought powerless by some than to actually turn the thing on and remove all doubt from everyone.Link

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We all know - he wasn't cheated. 60+ court cases, Republican election administrators clearly stated that. Only the Liar in Chief himself won't admit to it for narcissism and vanity reasons.
So what if the Dems "managed" their primaries? They needed a moderate face, with some diversity to represent America. Many others were too extreme for the US so it was a likely outcome, aligned with the US voters.
Trumps authoritarian tendencies and continual refusal to acknowledge the basic democratic methods is problematic, those who entered the Capital crossed the line, armed people entering the seat of Government. It's too close to rebellion to be tolerated - even by the GOP.

That was the problem for the Democrats, and likely it still is going to be four years hence. After early set backs Biden came through because in truth, he was the only candidate they had that was electable. He will be too old for the next presidency, the vice president is an unknown quantity and there is presently no better candidate in the offing, than the last lot.

It wasn't a vote, Biden chose Harris. How is that a set up?

Harris didn't get a single vote in the primaries. Democracy is too important to be left to ignorant voters

How many votes did Mike Pence get in the 2016 Republican primaries?

The simple reason that Harris didn't get a single vote in the primaries is that she withdrew from the race before the primaries began!
Her ratings and funding fell after coming under attack from other candidates because of some hard-line stances when she was California Attorney-General.

Yesterday my 12 year old grandson quietly mentioned he didn't approve of the monarchy. Isn't the American presidency a job that roughly combines the prestige of being leader (king/queen) and the political leadership of being prime minister? Trump was attracted by the kudos of being the king rather than the responsibility of being the pilot of the ship of state. We are lucky to have the low renown governor general as 'top job' .

"how dear you come to Washington"

Dear Andrew

Clearly the dear PM with her message of being nice is getting to you subconsciously. You must remember to place the 'e' after the 'r' or it just is endearing and nice

Just build cars without computers? You can still walk out of the stealership with a shiny new carburetted motorcycle. Infotainment systems should be banned anyway they distract drivers.

Can't do that. too many emissions and too reliable

I've started wondering whether it would be safer to just allow cell phone use while driving. At least then drivers would have their cellphone up at windscreen height when texting and in their background vision see a bit of where their vehicle is going rather than trying to be sneaky and looking down into their lap for long stretches of driving.

Are you mad? Prior to cell phones and texting, how often did you see people reading a book while driving. Basically none, because we all knew instinctively that's not a good idea, when did we become so stupid?

Unintended consequence of the threat of being ticketed for texting on a phone while driving seems to be that lots of people now try and hide the fact they are texting by having their phone in their lap. If they weren't trying to hide that fact then maybe they'd give the rest of us half a chance if they actually had half of one eye on the road ahead.

I reckon cellphone manufacturers should just make them inoperable when travelling (gps) faster than 10kph or something other than through bluetooth.

“Netscape and Myspace are examples of network applications that enjoyed widespread popularity but eventually disappeared,” the strategists wrote in response to rising client interest."

Wow that's it I'm selling all my BTC from these in-depth analysis@

Ordered the latest Toyota Rav 4 on the weekend. No stock in the country, delivery approx. June.

I am waiting on a new tail light....maybe March but no guarantees - depending on shipping

Nzdan... my mate from Malaysia just found and ordered his traditional bride in a similar way. She will be delivered to him in NZ long before your Rav 4 arrives.

Nzdan... my mate from Malaysia just found and ordered his traditional bride in a similar way. She will be delivered to him in NZ long before your Rav 4 arrives.

What I can't wait to see is how the 'system' manages Biden's image as being a cognitively competent individual. I can't imagine he'll be interviewed/questioned in real-time. Instead I'm guessing it will all be teleprompter-theatre interviews and speeches, until such time as he stops being able to read aloud, that is.

And what do they do then?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzBdBj5QWyY

Indeed he can be presentable, convincing even, when well prepared and groomed such as for John McCain’s funeral. And so he should be after such a long time in the political arena. My guess would be that they will adopt the methods and limitations that got Reagan through the last part of his last term, at least.

Biden not going to attend his own inauguration until he can find the office of Phil A Buster.