Bulgaria Government Shocked To Discover It Owns $3 Billion In Bitcoin

Bulgaria’s GDP is about $52.4 billion (2016), so it is quite a shock that the Bulgarian Government is sitting on an approximate $3 billion worth of Bitcoins seized in an anti-corruption operation back in May.
Putting this into a little more glaring context, Bulgaria is holding 18% of the national debt in bitcoins…
Fun fact: today's bitcoin prices have been interesting enough that there was a significant difference in how much Bulgaria had in USD between me writing this story and my editor editing it.
— Nikhilesh De (@nikhileshde) December 7, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 9, 2017.

Will America’s Prosperity Be Completely Wiped Out By Our Growing Debt?

The federal government is now 20.4 trillion dollars in debt, and most Americans don’t seem to care that the economic prosperity that we are enjoying today could be completely destroyed by our exploding national debt. Over the past decade, the national debt has been growing at a rate of more than 100 million dollars an hour, and this is a debt that all of us owe. When you break it down, each American citizen’s share of the debt is more than $60,000, and so if you have a family of five your share is more than $300,000. And when you throw in more than 6 trillion dollars of corporate debt and nearly 13 trillion dollars of consumer debt, it is not inaccurate to say that we are facing a crisis of unprecedented magnitude.
Debt cannot grow much faster than GDP indefinitely. At some point the bubble bursts, and when it does the pain that the middle class is going to experience is going to be off the charts. Back in 2015, the middle class in the U. S. became a minority of the population for the first time ever. Never before in our history has the middle class accounted for less than 50 percent of the population, and all over the country formerly middle class families are under a great deal of stress as they attempt to make ends meet. The following comes from an absolutely outstanding piece that was just put out by Charles Hugh Smith…
If you talk to young people struggling to make ends meet and raise children, or read articles about retirees who can’t afford to retire, you can’t help but detect the fading scent of prosperity.
It has steadily been lost to stagnation, under-reported inflation and soaring inequality, a substitution of illusion for reality bolstered by the systemic corruption of authentic measures of prosperity and well-being.
In other words, the American-Dream idea that life should get easier and more prosperous as the natural course of progress is still embedded in our collective memory, even though the collective reality has changed.
The reality that most of us are facing today is a reality where many are working two or three jobs just to make it from month to month.
The reality that most of us are facing today is a reality where debts never seem to get repaid and credit card balances just continue to grow.
The reality that most of us are facing today is a reality where we work day after day just to pay the bills, and yet we never seem to get anywhere financially.
The truth is that most people out there are deeply struggling. The Washington Post says that the ‘middle class’ encompasses anyone that makes between $35,000 and $122,500 a year, but very few of us are near the top end of that scale…

This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on October 29th, 2017.

Thanks For Nothing… And Everything

During this season of Thanksgiving, I would like to express my overwhelming gratitude…
Thank you, President Obama. Thank you for not upholding your oath to the U. S. Constitution to protect America’s southern border. Thank you for illegally granting amnesty via executive action and avoiding the unnecessary hassles of passing the legislation through Congress. And thank you for your efforts in turning the United States of America into a third-world refugee camp.
Thank you, Obama, for your broad support of Islam and for labeling American citizens as bitter, xenophobic racists clinging to their guns and religion. I would also like to express my gratitude to you, your enablers, and all of the sycophantically corrupt, establishment politicians for near doubling the national debt of the United States these last eight years.
Another heartfelt expression of gratitude goes out to all of the media pundits, talking heads, newspaper columnists, Silicon Valley moguls as well as the proprietors, purveyors and contributors of actual fake news websites who contort themselves daily to support leftist politicians and the progressive agenda. Without the blind commitment of those who have facilitated the Cloward-Piven strategy of sacrificing America to the global elite banking establishment, it would have been far more difficult for Obama to fundamentally transform our country over the last eight years.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 20, 2016.

Is Trump our Savior or our Destroyer?

While people keep criticizing Trump’s tax plan saying the wealthy will get more back by lowering the top bracket from 39.6% to 33%, all they focus on is class warfare. Trump’s tax plan collapses the seven federal income tax brackets into three, reducing the top marginal rate from 39.6% to 33%, and lowers the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%, among other things. The criticism is always just the socialist view and never address the vast waste and corruption in government. They say the national debt will explode by $5 trillion if Trump cuts taxes as if $1 trillion deficits under Obama was somehow OK. They also ignore the fact that lowering the corporate rate to 15% matches the best rates overseas and will then encourage them to bring their money home and with that JOBS! There is nearly $3 trillion offshore that will not return because the socialists demand high taxes. So it will not return. Saying the deficit will rise by cutting the tax rate assumes nobody will return home. That same position was taken with the Reagan tax cuts and proved to be DEAD WRONG!

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Nov 18, 2016.

Is Obama Juicing Government Spending To Get Hillary Elected?

During the last year of his reign of error, our beloved Nobel Peace Prize winner, Obama ran out of government accounting gimmicks to falsely proclaim Federal deficits have been falling. His legacy of debt accumulation will go down in history as the last dying gasps of a crumbling empire built upon Keynesian delusions, political corruption, and a Deep State establishment hellbent upon retaining power at the cost of global war and financial collapse.
The entirely fabricated government propaganda data point known as the Federal deficit skyrocketed by 34% in fiscal 2016 (Federal year is Oct. 1 to Sept. 30). The reported deficit in FY15 was a mere $438 billion. Obama and his brain dead minions had boasted about such a small deficit. The country has been in existence for 227 years and Obama had the balls to boast about ‘achieving’ the 8th highest deficit in our history. Just for some context, the savior also led the country to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th highest deficits in the country’s history. Bumbling Bush achieved the 7th highest in the glorious year of 2008.
The $149 billion surge in the reported deficit to $587 billion is a national disgrace and happened during a year in which we supposedly aren’t waging any real wars. Even with artificially suppressed interest rates, interest on the national debt went up by $30 billion. The Obamacare abortion has caused healthcare spending to soar, blowing a hole in the Federal budget. Remember Obama bloviating about Obamacare not adding one dime to the national debt? He was right. It’s adding trillions of dimes to the national debt. But, at least every family in America has gotten that promised $2,500 savings in their annual premiums. Right?

This post was published at The Burning Platform on October 16, 2016.

The Dreadful Kagan Clan – – Hillary’s Warmongers In Waiting

The US is heading straight for a fiscal calamity in the next decade. Even if you believe the CBO’s Rosy Scenario projections – – -which assume that we will go 207 months thru 2026 without a recession or double the longest expansion on record and nearly 4X the normal cycle length – – we will still end up with $28 trillion of national debt and a $1.3 trillion annual deficit (5% of GDP) by 2026.
But that’s the optimistic case! As I demonstrated recently, if you get real about all the enormous headwinds down the road – -including the virtual certainty that the Red Ponzi will have a crashing landing and take the global economy down with it – – you end up with a truly dismal picture.
To wit, just assume economic performance during the next ten years is no better or worse than the average of the last ten years, including the last decade’s 2.5% growth rate of wage and salary income.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by David Stockman ‘ May 20, 2016.

Trump’s Right – – Paying Back The National Debt With ‘Discounts’ Is Already Official Policy

Donald Trump says a lot of whacko things, and his recent wild pitches about defaulting on the national debt and replacing Yellen because she is not a Republican sound as if they were coming right out of his wild man wheelhouse. Certainly these statements have gotten mainstream financial journalists and editorial writers in high dudgeon.
Said the NYT editorial page about Trump’s observation that if things got bad enough he’d seek to negotiate ‘discounts’ on Uncle Sam’s towering debt,
Such remarks by a major presidential candidate have no modern precedent. The United States government is able to borrow money at very low interest rates because Treasury securities are regarded as a safe investment, and any cracks in investor confidence have a long history of costing American taxpayers a lot of money.
Well, now. These ‘very low rates’ could not have anything to do with the fact that the Fed has vacuumed-up $3.5 trillion of Treasury debt and its close substitute in GSE securities since September 2008. Apparently, the law of supply and demand has been suspended until further notice – -except for the fact that when Bernanke even hinted that the Fed might sell-down some of its grossly bloated balance sheet in April 2013 treasury yields erupted higher in the infamous taper tantrum.
The fact is, ultra low rates on Uncle Sam’s mountainous debt haveeverything to do with central bank manipulation of interest rates; and ‘confidence’ in Washington’s fiscal rectitude is but an empty platitude.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on May 5, 2016.

Trumped! Why It Happened And What Comes Next, Part 2 (The Peace Deal)

When it comes to the economic future, a Trump presidency could bring either a shitstorm or salvation. Regrettably, the odds of the former are immensely the higher.
That’s because Trump is a welcome, but extremely unguided missile. On the one hand, his great virtue is that he is a superb salesman and showman who has captured the GOP nomination and has a serious shot at the White House with absolutely no help whatsoever from the Washington/Wall Street establishment.
So unlike any other candidate in recent memory, he owns his own talking points; is not saddled with a stable of credentialed advisors schooled in three decades of policy error and failure; and has the hutzpah to trust his own instincts – – many of which, especially on foreign policy, are exactly the rebuke that Imperial Washington and its legions of parasites and racketeers so richly deserve.
On the other hand, the Donald’s policy thinking, if you can call it that, is thoroughly inchoate. His policy pronouncements amount to little more than spontaneous eruptions of sentiment, prejudice, hearsay, bile, applause lines, wishful thinking and disconnected non sequiturs. That’s where thoughtlets like Muslim bans, mass deportations, a Trump Wall on the Rio Grande, paying off the national debt, 40% tariff barriers, obliteration of ISIS and numerous other stray verbal hand grenades come from.
Yet occasional wild pitches are not really the problem, and the cynics are surely correct in predicting that Trump will excise most of them from his patter even before the GOP convention. The real problem is that Trump has no detectable economic philosophy or policy framework, and it is in that arena that he could go careening off into a cacophony of misfires, mistakes and statist mayhem.
To wit, Trump has already said that he likes the Fed’s low interest rates, is considering a minimum wage hike, thinks social security and medicare should remain untouched, will rebuild the military, intends to drastically increase spending for veterans, wants to slash income taxes on corporations and individuals, thinks a big infrastructure program is warranted, plans to spend tens of billions on border security and the Wall and will drastically hammer $2.2 trillion of imports in order to bring jobs back home.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on May 5, 2016.

Trumped! Why It Happened And What Comes Next, Part 2

When it comes to the economic future, a Trump presidency could bring either a shitstorm or salvation. Regrettably, the odds of the former are immensely the higher.
That’s because Trump is a welcome, but extremely unguided missile. On the one hand, his great virtue is that he is a superb salesman and showman who has captured the GOP nomination and has a serious shot at the White House with absolutely no help whatsoever from the Washington/Wall Street establishment.
So unlike any other candidate in recent memory, he owns his own talking points; is not saddled with a stable of credentialed advisors schooled in three decades of policy error and failure; and has the hutzpah to trust his own instincts – – many of which, especially in foreign policy, are exactly the rebuke that Imperial Washington and its legions of parasites and racketeers so richly deserve.
On the other hand, the Donald’s policy thinking, if you can call it that, is thoroughly inchoate. His policy pronouncements amount to little more than spontaneous eruptions of sentiment, prejudice, hearsay, bile, applause lines, wishful thinking and disconnected non sequiturs. That’s where thoughtlets like Muslim bans, mass deportations, a Trump Wall on the Rio Grande, paying off the national debt, 40% tariff barriers, obliteration of ISIS and numerous other stray verbal hand grenades come from.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on May 5, 2016.

Trumps Strays Off The Deep End – – His ‘Plan To Eliminate The National Debt Is Ludicrous

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump’s wide-ranging interviewwith the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, published Saturday, made news on many different fronts. From his prediction of a ‘very massive recession’ to his description of himself as the ‘Lone Ranger’ of American politics trump was, even for him, highly quotable.
But for people focused on fiscal issues, it was his claim that he would eliminate the federal debt – not the annual deficit, but the entire outstanding debt of the federal government – within eight years that really raised some eyebrows.
The Treasury Department calculates the nation’s federal debt at $19.3 trillion, although it could be as low as $13.9 trillion (if you eliminate debts the government owes itself, like Treasury securities held by the Social Security Trust Fund).
Trump, however, consistently describes the debt as being more than $19 trillion, so when he promises to eliminate the debt within eight years, it’s reasonable to assume that he is referring to the higher figure, which will be approaching $20 trillion by the time the next president takes office.
The reaction most people familiar with government spending and borrowing had to Trump’s promise was that it is utterly delusional.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on April 7, 2016.

Trump Is Right – – Dump NATO Now

If you want to know why we have a $19 trillion national debt and a fiscal structure that will take that already staggering figure to $35 trillion and 140% of GDP within a decade, just consider the latest campaign fracas. That is, the shrieks of disbelief in response to Donald Trump’s sensible suggestion that the Europeans pay for their own defense.
The fact is, NATO has been an obsolete waste for 25 years. Yet the denizens of the Imperial City cannot even seem to grasp that the 4 million Red Army is no more; and that the Soviet Empire, which enslaved 410 million souls to its economic and military service, vanished from the pages of history in December 1991.
What is left is a pitiful remnant – – 145 million aging, Vodka-besotted Russians who subsist in what is essentially a failing third world economy. Its larcenous oligarchy of Putin and friends appeared to live high on the hog and to spread a veneer of glitz around Moscow and St. Petersburg. But that was all based on the world’s one-time boom in oil, gas, nickel, aluminum, fertilizer, steel and other commodities and processed industrial materials.
Stated differently, the Russian economy is a glorified oil patch and mining town with a GDP the equivalent of the NYC metropolitan area. And that’s its devastating Achilles Heel.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by David Stockman ‘ March 23, 2016.

$19 Trillion And Counting – -What The Three GOP Stooges Are Not Debating

Among the many issues not being debated in the presidential nomination races in both political parties is the matter of the debt ceiling, which both political parties continue to raise each time it is reached. Given that the debt ceiling is an acknowledgment that too much debt is a very bad and very dangerous thing for a government and a nation (See Greece and Puerto Rico), wouldn’t you think that this would be something that would be discussed and debated in the course of a presidential race? Well, apparently not in this one.
Check out this website, which is called the US Debt Clock.org. It shows that the national debt currently stands at $19 trillion. The amount of that debt allocated to each citizen is $59,150.
Advocates of ever-growing federal spending have long maintained that the national debt doesn’t really matter because ‘we owe it to ourselves.’
It would be difficult to find a more inane statement than that in the annals of history.
The fact is that the government owes all that money to people who own U. S. government bonds and other U. S. debt instruments, including foreign regimes like communist China, which loaned the George W. Bush regime the money he needed to invade and occupy Iraq.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on March 17, 2016.

If Speaker Ryan Can’t Cut $30 Billion – – He Should Hang His Head In Shame

One week after the Republican-controlled Congress broke with over 40 years of tradition by denying the White House budget director a chance to explain the administration’s annual budget request, the GOP is coming precariously close to not being able to come up with its own spending blueprint.
A group of hardcore House conservatives has seized on two recent developments – the U. S. national debt reaching a record $19 trillion and a Congressional Budget Office report that the deficit will spike in 2016 for the first time in seven years – to demand $30 billion in spending cuts before a vote can happen on a budget resolution whose topline numbers were determined by congressional leaders late last year.
Related: Tea Party Revolts Against Obama’s Budget as Debt Exceeds $19 Trillion
‘We need to write a budget that reflects the environment we’re in,’ House Freedom Caucus chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) said Thursday during a Capitol Hill press conference, specifically citing the debt figure and the CBO report. ‘To me, that’s what drives it.’
‘We’re still pretty firm on the number,’ said Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID).
The conflict has been brewing since last September, when former House Speaker John Boehner (OH) helped forge a two-year deal that lifted looming budgets caps by raising discretionary spending by $50 billion in fiscal 2016 and $30 billion in 2017.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on February 13, 2016.

Campaign 2016 And The Great Unmentionable – -CBO Says National Debt To Hit $27 Trillion In Next Decade, GOP Candidates Troll For More Defense Spending

Does anyone remember the national debt?
Judging from the presidential campaign so far, perhaps we should put the debt’s image on a milk carton somewhere. In the last Republican debate, there was precisely one question on the debt – and the candidates answered it by talking about their tax plans. That was far too typical. According to the FiveThirtyEight website, ‘the deficit’ was mentioned an average of two times in the first five televised Republican debates (including the ‘undercard’ debates) by all the candidates – and the moderators – combined. And ‘the national debt’ was brought up an average of 6.5 times. This compares to an average of 3.2 ‘deficit’ mentions and 10.9 ‘debt’ mentions in the 20 GOP debates during the 2012 campaign.
But while the candidates have been wrangling over such vital issues as fantasy sports betting or Ted Cruz’s citizenship status, our growing sea of red ink has quietly risen toward $19 trillion. One might think our impending national bankruptcy might be worth a bit more attention.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama took a bow for reducing our annual budget deficit by two-thirds during his time in office. He’s correct. Since its high of $1.4 trillion in 2009, the deficit had dropped to just $439 billion last year, although the president failed to mention that his policies, including the 2009 stimulus bill, helped drive the deficit to those record levels, and policies that he opposed, such as sequestration, helped bring it down.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on January 26, 2016.

Meet John Boehner Ryan – – The GOP’s Favorite Fiscal Fake Folds Fast

That didn’t take long. Recall that just two months ago Speaker John Boehner announced he would abruptly resign right in the middle of his term. He said he was tired of taking gaff from conservative backbenchers on account of his serial sell-outs of even tepid House GOP efforts at fiscal discipline.
We greeted Boehner’s announcement with a Bronx cheer: Good riddance to Johnny Lawnchair, the fastest fold on the Potomac!
Supposedly a new era was dawning under his successor Paul Ryan, but not so. The lawnchair never left – -its just got a new occupant.
Now after just 51 days in office Ryan has forced the GOP to walk the plank on what under any honest form of fiscal accounting is a $2.5 trillion addition to the national debt.
Well, make that any form of accounting at all. This whole stinking pile of backroom deals was pushed through so fast that even CBO has not had a chance to fully analyze and score the bill.
In that regard, for the first time in his life, Harry Reid told the truth after this Ryan-Obama midnight special was whisked through the House and Senate. Said the man of legendary forked tongue,
‘Sometime in the darkness, the bill was finalized……..no legislation is perfect, but this is good legislation.’
I have said all along the Paul Ryan is a complete fiscal fake. After all, he has spent years braying about the national debt, but never saw a defense program he didn’t want to fund or a bailout that would help his Wisconsin district that he failed to rationalize.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on December 19, 2015.

Mind The Credit Markets: EM Debt Issuance Down 98% In Q3

The commodity-price slump and the slowdown in China’s economy are crippling developing nations’ ability to borrow abroad, even as international debt sales from advanced nations remain at a five-year high.
Issuance by emerging-market borrowers slumped to a net $1.5 billion in the third quarter, a drop of 98 percent from the second quarter, according to the Bank for International Settlements. That was the biggest downtrend since the 2008 financial crisis and reduced global sales of securities by almost 80 percent, the BIS said in a report.
Emerging-market assets tumbled in the third quarter, led by the biggest plunge in commodity prices since 2008 and China’s surprise devaluation of the yuan. The average yield on developing-nation corporate bonds posted the biggest increase in four years, stocks lost a combined $4.2 trillion and a gauge of currencies slid 8.3 percent against the dollar. Sanctions on Russian entities and political turmoil in Brazil and Turkey also affected sales by companies in those countries.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on December 7, 2015.

Ex-GAO Head: US Debt is Three Times More Than You Think

The former U. S. comptroller general says the real U. S. debt is closer to about $65 trillion than the oft-cited figure of $18 trillion.
Dave Walker, who headed the Government Accountability Office (GAO) under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, said when you add up all of the nation’s unfunded liabilities, the national debt is more than three times the number generally advertised.
‘If you end up adding to that $18.5 trillion the unfunded civilian and military pensions and retiree healthcare, the additional underfunding for Social Security, the additional underfunding for Medicare, various commitments and contingencies that the federal government has, the real number is about $65 trillion rather than $18 trillion, and it’s growing automatically absent reforms,’ Walker told host John Catsimatidis on ‘The Cats Roundtable’ on New York’s AM-970 in an interview airing Sunday.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on November 9, 2015.

Good Riddance To Johnny Lawnchair – – The Fastest Fold On The Potomac

There are few political hacks in Washington more deserving of everlasting ignominy than retiring speaker John Boehner. So here’s a vehement good riddance to the man who has single-handedly destroyed whatever pathetic semblance of fiscal responsibility that remained in Washington.
The so-called bipartisan budget deal he confected as a parting gesture doesn’t even deserve to be called a farce. It’s actually just an extension of Washington’s pathological lying to the American public about the monumental fiscal calamity now brewing.
The chart below shows the patented formula – – employed for the second time since the sequester mechanism was put in place during the debt ceiling crisis of 2011.
It will increase spending by $85 billion in the here and now by busting the FY 2016 and 2017 caps. This new red ink will then, purportedly, be off-set way down the road with gimmicks, imaginary IRS audit revenues and hazy disability benefit reforms which will never materialize. Never.
Indeed, these people are beyond shame. The big bulge of $33 billion of savings shown for the never never land of 2025 is due to a sharp increase in assumed discretionary spending cuts and Medicare benefit reductions. That is, the very same programs that are being pumped up during the next three years!
And that’s the same thing the Ryan-Murray budget did two years ago with respect to FY2014-15. In combination these 11th hour bipartisan shams have thus added $143 billion of real money to the national debt for the years before 2021, ‘paying’ for them with imaginary savings to be realized after 2021. That is, until we get there – – at which time anything which bites into the gravy train will be predictably deferred.
So in a nutshell here’s Johnny Lawnchair’s odorous record of fiscal betrayal since 2011. First he broke the will of fiscal conservatives just when they had Washington over the debt ceiling barrel in August 2011 with the promise of $1.5 trillion of entitlement savings via the Super Committee.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on October 28, 2015.

Potato Sack Economics

Fiscal policy, as opposed to monetary policy, is more readily understood by the general populace. Income taxes, budget deficits, the national debt. These are all tangible things the average working stiff can grasp a hold of, if they care to.
The consequences of ZIRP or QE, however, are less obvious to the casual observer. They experience the wild booms and busts of central bank caused price distortions yet never connect the dots back to the Fed. They may falsely condemn capitalism, and never scratch below the surface where the Fed’s money and credit games are lurking.
The industrious wage earner may also find that, despite working harder and harder, their lot in life never improves. In fact, it may even regress. Still, many won’t recognize heavy handed monetary policy as factors for their disappointment.
The recent college graduate, making a subsistence wage at a franchise coffee shop, buried under $50,000 in student loan debt, may be keenly aware that something is radically wrong. How come the cost of school is at such disparity with the value it provides, they may ask?
Nonetheless, many won’t correlate the bubble in student loan debt, or the massive building boom on college campuses, to the Fed’s mass credit creation machine. Nor will they contemplate the broken promises that led them down such a futile path. The simple fact is when something doesn’t seem right…it’s most likely a sham.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by MN Gordon ‘ October 9, 2015.

The World Map Of Public Debt

What if we were to redraw the world map based on the sustainability of national debt levels?
Countries that are smaller in size, but that have big debt loads, would stand out more. If we used debt-to-GDP as scaling criteria, Japan would become the largest country on our new map. Japan holds 19.99% of all global debt despite only having about 6% of the world’s economic production. The country’s debt-to-GDP ratio is 230%.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Visual Capitalist ‘ October 8, 2015.