Friday , August 23 2019
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Mike Norman

Mike Norman

Mike Norman is an economist and veteran trader whose career has spanned over 30 years on Wall Street. He is a former member and trader on the CME, NYMEX, COMEX and NYFE and he managed money for one of the largest hedge funds and ran a prop trading desk for Credit Suisse.

Articles by Mike Norman

The Federal Reserve’s new Distributional Financial Accounts provide telling data on growing U.S. wealth and income inequality — Raksha Kopparam

1 day ago

Wealth disparities between the rich and the poor in the United States have broadened over the past 30 years, according to a new dataset released earlier this month by researchers at the Federal Reserve Board. Their Distributional Financial Accounts is the new dataset that provides quarterly estimates of wealth distribution in the country from 1989 to 2019. 2 The new dataset was created by integrating the Federal Reserve Board’s Financial Accounts with the Survey of Consumer Finances. Together, they contain reliable measures of the distribution of household-sector assets and liabilities from 1989, which gives policymakers and economists alike new insight into how the distribution of wealth has changed since the 1990s.The new Federal Reserve Board dataset confirms that wealth concentration

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On Demagogues and Democracy — Eric Schliesser

1 day ago

Some social & political theory. Focuses on Walter Lippmann, The Good Society.

Although Eric Schliesser doesn’t mention it in this post, Aristotle discussed these issues in detail in his Politics.Digressions&ImpressionsOn Demagogues and DemocracyEric Schliesser | Professor of Political Science, University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

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Our Money: Modern Monetary Theory Must Dominate Democratic Debate — PR Newsletter

1 day ago

This Labor Day, Our Money will gather 500 participants to host a march for Full Employment and Economic Justice in commemoration of the Civil Rights Movement legacy of advocacy for a Federal Job Guarantee. The march will begin at the MLK Memorial in Washington DC at 11 am and end at the Marriner Eccles Building of the Federal Reserve around 2 pm. 

Our Money founder, Rev. Dr. Delman Coates, will use this opportunity to draw the connection for lay audiences between the Civil Rights struggle for Full Employment and Economic Justice, and the importance of understanding our public power of money creation, as illuminated by insurgent school of economic thought, Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). Dr. Coates will call on Congress to pass a Federal Job Guarantee, as well as hold hearings on MMT in

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Just do nothing…

1 day ago

Kashkari going to State Fair… Fed in Jackson Hole… these people not doing much work these days… kicking back here in August this month…Pretty good indicator that they wont be doing anything before September meeting… good sign… #JustDoNothing

Headed to first day of #mnstatefair2019. Excited for @MinneapolisFed booth in the education building. If I restrain myself from eating at the Fair, did I really go? #fedatthefair
— Neel Kashkari (@neelkashkari) August 22, 2019

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Bill Mitchell — The EU pronouncement of a Greek success ignores the reality

1 day ago

I keep reading ridiculous articles about Brexit in the UK Guardian. The latest was comparing it to pre-WWI Britain and suggesting there were no signs of a “Damascene moment remainers hoped for”. I thought that reference was apposite – given the reference invokes St Paul’s conversion after he was struck blind. Good analogy – blind and remainer. The Brexit imbroglio is all the more puzzling because it seems to be a massive mismatch of scale – a currency-issuing nation and an organisation with no currency and no democratic legitimacy. And that is before one even contemplates the nature of that organisation. On August 20. 2019, the European Union provided us with a perfect example of why no responsible government would want to be part of it. In its – Daily News 20/08/2019 – there were three

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Links — 21 Aug 2019

2 days ago

The Vineyard of the SakerU.S.-UK Deep State Tries to Grab Hong KongEric Zuesse

NEORoots of Chaos in Hong Kong were Planted in Washington
Salman Rafi Sheikh

RTWest’s news dominated by Hong Kong while Yellow Vests largely ignored – Pilger

CGTN179 officers injured, Hong Kong police urge public to stay rational

The Unblanced Evolution of Homo SapiensJohn Pilger: Breaking up the Russian Federation is an American objective

Sic Semper TyrannisJoseph Mifsud, British "Joe", Not Russia’s Boy by Larry C JohnsonLarry C. Johnson | CEO and co-founder of BERG Associates, LLC, an international business-consulting firm with expertise combating terrorism and investigating money laundering, formerly Deputy Director in the U.S. State Department’s Office of Counter Terrorism (1989-1993, and CIA

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Trump HAMMERING the Fed

2 days ago

He mutilated them today:

….WHERE IS THE FEDERAL RESERVE?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 21, 2019

So Germany is paying Zero interest and is actually being paid to borrow money, while the U.S., a far stronger and more important credit, is paying interest and just stopped (I hope!) Quantitative Tightening. Strongest Dollar in History, very tough on exports. No Inflation!…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 21, 2019

…..We are competing with many countries that have a far lower interest rate, and we should be lower than them. Yesterday, “highest Dollar in U.S.History.” No inflation. Wake up Federal Reserve. Such growth potential, almost like never before!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 21, 2019

“The speed bump has been missteps by the Federal

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Planetary Thinking — Eric Berglöf

2 days ago

As policymakers, academics, and activists prepare for next month’s United Nations climate summit in New York, they should consider precisely what it will take to build a truly sustainable global economy. First and foremost, the world needs a new multidisciplinary approach that is broad enough to tackle the challenge….
Project SyndicatePlanetary Thinking
Eric Berglöf

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‘Was Goebbels unavailable?’: ABC blasted for ‘normalizing fascism’ by putting Sean Spicer on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ — David Badash

2 days ago

I am purposefully avoiding overtly political stuff now that we are in the throes of another campaign.However, when one faction of the country sees the other faction as fascist and names it, political discourse has descended about as far as it can go in that direction other than upping the amps.The opposite extreme when one side sees the others a socialist and even communist, political discourse has descended about as far as it can go in that direction other than upping the amps.This is a political issue that is being reflected in societal problems that have wide-ranging impact on social, political and economic life.At the extreme, this will surface as the campaign being represented as between Hitler and Stalin.AlterNet‘Was Goebbels unavailable?’: ABC blasted for ‘normalizing fascism’ by

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It’s official: Parts of California are too wildfire-prone to insure — Nathanael Johnson

2 days ago

California is facing yet another real estate-related crisis, but we’re not talking about its sky-high home prices. According to newly released data, it’s simply become too risky to insure houses in big swaths of the wildfire-prone state.

Last winter when we wrote about home insurance rates possibly going up in the wake of California’s massive, deadly fires, the insurance industry representatives we interviewed were skeptical. They noted that the stories circulating in the media about people in forested areas losing their homeowners’ insurance was based on anecdotes, not data. But now, the data is in and it’s really happening: Insurance companies aren’t renewing policies areas climate scientists say are likely to burn in giant wildfires in coming years….
I had friends burned out in the

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Completing The Euro: The Euro Treasury And The Job Guarantee — Esteban Cruz-Hidalgo, Dirk H. Ehnts, Pavlina R. Tcherneva

2 days ago

AbstractThe problems with the design of the Eurozone came into focus when, late in 2009, several member nations– notably Greece – failed to refinance their government debt. The crisis that followed was not entirely asurprise. When the Euro was launched in 1999, many economists warned that the single currency was unworkable. Even Eurozone optimists argued that the Euro project would eventually need to be completed. More than 10 years after the crisis, unemployment rates remain elevated and continue to threaten the social, political and economic stability of the Eurozone. The institutional constraints of the single currency however preclude bold action to address these challenges. In this paper, we suggest that tackling the twin problems of the Eurozone – its institutional flaws and mass

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Solar Power Is Now As Inexpensive As Grid Electricity In China Charles Q. Choi

2 days ago

Researchers found that PV systems could produce electricity at a lower price than the grid in 344 cities.
Good news for air quality and climate. China has been relying on coal-fired plants (72% in 2016).

Two anecdotes. I have a friend that teaches for six-weeks in Beijing on occasion. I once said to him that it must be a great experience. He answered that it was terrible, the pollution was so bad. I have another acquaintance that is Chinese, now living in the US. He’s been here about 20 years. I asked him if he thought ever of returning to China. He shook his head and pointed upward. I asked him what he meant, and he said, "blue sky." 

China is not alone in this in the developing world. Electrification is a big deal, and cost is a major consideration.

IEEE SpecturmSolar Power Is

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Research finds the domestic outsourcing of jobs leads to declining U.S. job quality and lower wages — Kate Bahn

2 days ago

The domestic outsourcing of jobs in the United States is fast becoming a dominant explanation for the destruction of the social contract of work, a historic concept in which norms of fairness and solidarity between firms and their employees played a major role in wage setting and workplace standards for some U.S. workers—though of course many others such as African American workers were consistently more marginalized. The destruction of this social contract, detailed in Brandeis University economist David Weil’s book The Fissured Workplace, describes a labor market structure in which workers are employed at firms with core competencies and then those firms subcontract out all other duties or specific functions in the production process.

Within daily work activities, U.S. workers may

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Econometrics and the problem of unjustified assumptions — Lars P. Syll

2 days ago

This is important but may be too wonkish for those who are not intimately familiar with econometrics. So let me try to simplify it and universalize it.

The basic idea in logical reasoning is that an argument is sound if and only if the premises are true and the logical form is valid.  Then the conclusion follows as necessarily true.

This is the basis of scientific reasoning.

In modeling, a set of assumptions, both substantive and procedural, is stipulated, that is, assumed to be true. In a well-founded model all the assumptions that make substantive claims are known to be true empirically on the basis of evidence. This is called semantic truth. The logical truth of logical form is formal proof. This is called syntactical truth. Only the former contains substance. The latter is

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Bill Mitchell — The rich are getting richer in Australia while the rest of us mark time

2 days ago

Only a short blog post today – in terms of actual researched content. Plenty of announcements and news though, a cartoon, and some great music. I have been meaning to write about the household income and wealth data that the ABS released in July, which showed that real income and wealth growth over a significant period for low income families has been close to zero, while the top 20 per cent have enjoyed rather massive gains. These trends are unsustainable. A nation cannot continually be distributing income to the top earners who spend less overall while starving the lower income cohorts of income growth. A nation cannot also continually create wealth accumulation opportunities for the richest while the rest go backwards. These trends generate spending crises, asset bubbles and social

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Trump says White House looking at payroll tax cut — Brett Samuels

3 days ago

Another reversal of position, but this time definitive, coming from the Oval Office.Unfortunately, the Democratic Establishment will probably paint this as 1) an attack on Social Security, which is "funded" by the payroll tax, and 2) a further "blowing out" of the deficit, both of which are nonsense in terms of MMT.

Actually, a payroll tax cut would be redistributive, which would bolster the president’s support among the middle class, and it would increase the purchasing power of all working people that pay the tax, likely leading to consumer spending that would be stimulative. 

The later is the expectation of the Trump administration to ward off the onset of a recession that isn’t coming anyway. Trump is correct in claiming that the media is wrong in predicting an immanent

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Modern Money and the War Treasury — Sam Levey

3 days ago

Abstract: Using historical sources, we attempt to unravel and elucidate the economic worldview held by the United States Treasury Department during World War II. We analyze the Treasury’s view of taxation, bond sales, and interest rates. We consider whether and in what ways this worldview is compatible with Modern Monetary Theory, finding that, in most regards, the two align closely, the differences being primarily attributable to the peculiarities of war finance. Finding a less clear view of national debt, an interpretation is offered based on Treasury’s statements. We also offer evidence that this view had a foothold in the era’s news outlets.
Global Institute for Sustainable ProsperityModern Money and the War Treasury
Sam Levey | Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity Graduate

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The magic money does exist – but can we trust politicians to use it? — Paddy Dear

3 days ago

In 2017 when a nurse pointed out that her wages had not increased for several years, then-prime minister Theresa May quipped: “There is no magic money tree.” Well, maybe Mrs May was wrong. I believe there is a magic money tree and it is coming to western economies very soon. I am talking about MMT. And strangely, MMT doesn’t stand for “magic money tree”; it’s Modern Monetary Theory….

The question, "Can we trust politicians," is really a question about the viability of democracy. The answer of the liberal faction is, yes. The response of the conservative faction is a resounding, no. Safeguards are required to protect from the excesses of democracy, e.g., descent into "rabble rule."

So after the economic/financial issues are settled, the political questions emerge. This boils down to

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The Economist Who Believes the Government Should Just Print More Money — Zach Helfand

3 days ago

I’d been stewing for a few months in the melange of blogs and YouTube videos and white papers that make up much of the M.M.T. world. Some intricacies lay beyond me—a hazy blur of literature about floating exchange rates and reserve currencies addled my brain. But the basic principle of M.M.T. is seductively simple: governments don’t have to budget like households, worrying about debt, because, unlike households, they can simply print their own money….
This illustrates a major difficulty in public education about MMT. On one hand, the financial and economic concepts are beyond many laypersons, while on the other, the body of literature with which one must be familiar is daunting to non-specialists. So the commonly held view is that MMT is about "printing money," which sounds

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Bill Mitchell — Inverted yield curves signalling a total failure of the dominant mainstream macroeconomics

3 days ago

At different times, the manias spread through the world’s financial and economic commentariat. We have had regular predictions that Japan was about to collapse, with a mix of hyperinflation, government insolvency, Bank of Japan negative capital and more. During the GFC, the mainstream economists were out in force predicting accelerating inflation (because of QE and rising fiscal deficits), rising bond yields and government insolvency issues (because of rising deficits and debt ratios) and more. And policy makers have often acted on these manias and reneged on taking responsible fiscal decisions – for example, they have terminated stimulus initiatives too early because the financial markets screamed blue murder (after they had been adequately bailed out that is). In the last week, we have

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Treasury settlements today

3 days ago

Probably first big post debt ceiling suspension new issues day….Net 20b here 4 week securities:https://www.treasurydirect.gov/instit/annceresult/press/preanre/2019/A_20190813_2.pdf  40b here new issues 8 week securities:https://www.treasurydirect.gov/instit/annceresult/press/preanre/2019/A_20190813_1.pdf  60b total reserve reduction… from these Treasury operations today…

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“When the facts change, I change my mind.”

3 days ago

Self descriptive quote from Keynes who I assume was Liberal Art/dialectic trained… this is an interesting way,  as usual via figurative language from these people, to describe how the liberal art trained brain works… probably revealing…They actually think as though they are "changing their mind!" (when they synthesize?); rather than simply making a proper corrective adjustment… weird-o-rama!!!

11/"When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"- apocryphally attributed to KeynesThe truth? What you probably do is stick with your gang.(end)
— Noah Smith 🐇 (@Noahpinion) August 14, 2018

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Trump admin discussing temporary payroll tax cut

4 days ago

Can’t wait to see the political left  $50k/year tuition student loan funded liberal art trained morons come out against this… can hear them now:  "deficit too big!!!"
It is doubtful the Democratic-controlled House would even pass a payroll tax. The 6.2% tax helps to fund Medicare and Social Security, two massive programs Democrats have repeatedly warned against altering. 

Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., has proposed a plan to raise the payroll tax to keep Social Security solvent.

White House reportedly looks at payroll tax cut as a way to stop an economic downturn https://t.co/A7G0rrTyyU
— CNBC (@CNBC) August 19, 2019
Double triggers…

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Links — 19 Aug 2019

4 days ago

Moon of Alabama

Which Hong Kong Protest Size Estimate is Right?

NEOKim Dong Chul’s New Testimony: More Unpleasant Truth on Espionage in North Korea
Constanin Asmolov

People’s DispatchIncident at Hong Kong airport comes as a rude awakening

Strategic Culture FoundationThe Deeper Meaning in a Lost WarAlastair Crooke | founder and director of the Conflicts Forum, and former British diplomat and senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy

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Alfred Marshall in 1885: “The Present Position of Economics” —Timothy Taylor

4 days ago

This is a key observation of Alfred Marshall that predicts the development of post-classical economics, which came to be dominated by neoclassical economics, although it was overshadowed for a time by Keynesianism, owing to the pressures of the time (war, depression, and another war).

The key observation is this:

Marshall notes that when people think about the main intellectual contribution of Adam Smith, they often point to what we now refer to as the "invisible hand" idea–that when people act in their own self-interest–though hard work, innovation, shopping for desired goods and services–they will often benefit the social welfare. However, Marshall argues that in fact, Smith’s key insight was something quite different: "His work was to indicate the manner in which value measures

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