Merchants of Despair – Must watch
Tucked into the Iowa Democrat’s Rebuild America Act is a provision to raise the minimum wage to $9.80 for all wage earners, a 35 percent increase from the current $7.25 level. It would also more than triple the minimum wage for tip earners, such as waiters and restaurant employees, to $6.86 from the $2.13 base pay they earn now.
Unemployment in the euro zone reached its highest level in almost 15 years in February, with more than 17 million people out of work, and economists said they expected job office queues to grow even longer later this year.
When the euro was being created, the economics profession split into three groups — enthusiasts, opponents and realists — that predicted wildly different costs and benefits for the project. By 2007, when the young currency was thriving, the enthusiasts declared a premature victory. Now it’s the turn of the opponents, and they are, of course, wrong.
Searching for higher returns to bridge looming shortfalls, public workers’ pension funds across the country are increasingly turning to riskier investments in private equity, real estate and hedge funds.
But while their fees have soared, their returns have not. In fact, a number of retirement systems that have stuck with more traditional investments in stocks and bonds have performed better in recent years, for a fraction of the fees.
Amid all the sobering discussions of what happens when cities run out of money, fiscal sleight of hand and time, the most telling detail at a conference on distressed municipalities here last week just might have been the one about the fire truck that was the wrong color.
Most of the people of southern Europe have stayed surprisingly stoical up to now in the face of some of the most painful budget cuts in living memory, but signs are stirring that patience may soon run out.
According to the data provided weekly to Barron’s by Thomson Reuters and published inMarket Lab, the latest dollar-based ratio of insider share sales to outright purchases was 40, and the week before that was 35.
As a very rough guide, a number above 20 is considered a negative symbol about supply and demand for equities by informed actors, and the ratio has been at or above 20 in six of the past 10 weeks.
Returns might have been impressive in the first quarter, but there were plenty of other discomforting numbers during the first three months of the year.
Whenever I talk about the gold standard, usually there is someone who stands up and says “what about the Great Depression?” — like that is some kind of remark that trumps all possible replies.
Well, what about it?
The Great Depression was, undoubtedly, the time period when the conventional wisdom migrated from a Classical viewpoint, emphasizing money that is stable in value, to a Mercantilist viewpoint, emphasizing money that can be manipulated to cause short-term economic effects.
Goldman Sachs, the US investment bank whose boss once claimed it was ‘doing God’ s work’, has been exposed as investing in a company linked to prostitution and sex trafficking of under-age girls.