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Opioid Deaths Rise in Towns Where U.S. Auto Plants Have Closed

Opioid deaths sharply rise in American communities where multinational automakers have closed their United States plants and outsourced those jobs to foreign countries, the latest medical study confirms. The study by acclaimed researchers, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, notes that American communities that experienced an auto plant closure within the last five years saw a much greater rate of opioid deaths than communities whose auto plants have remained open — confirming that towns and small cities that have been hit by job-killing free trade have suffered more in the opioid crisis. The researchers note: US manufacturing counties that experienced an…

Gold Prices Skyrocket to Highest in Two Months as Dollar Nosedives

Earlier this month, the newspaper South China Morning Post reported that gold prices had been on track for their best year since 2010 amid the US-China trade war. Gold prices have increased to their highest in more than two months as the dollar plummeted following the Pentagon’s statement about the US military strikes on Hezbollah facilities in Syria and Iraq, Reuters reports. On Monday, spot gold increased by 0.2 percent to $1,513.29 per ounce. The rise was preceded by gold prices hitting their highest since 25 October to amount to $1,515.80 per ounce, Commenting on the developments, Ilya Spivak, a…

U.S. companies are forcing workers to train their own foreign replacements

Opponents of job outsourcing are making a holiday-season appeal to President Trump: Stop U.S. companies from forcing American workers to train the very same cheaper foreign laborers who will soon replace them. Why it matters: Trump promised voters he’d end abuses of worker visa programs and save U.S. jobs — but as he campaigns for re-election, advocates say he hasn’t done enough. Driving the news: AT&T is poised to send thousands into the new year hunting for new jobs after assigning them to train their own foreign replacements, according to conversations with current and former workers and documents obtained by…

As Global Debt Rises, the Maximum Possible Interest Rate Is Declining Towards Zero, Meaning Money Printing Is the Only Option Left for Central Banks to Stimulate the Economy

In this article, we will explore how the equilibrium interest rate is declining towards zero as total global debt increases and how money printing is the only option left for central banks going forward. This persistent and large-scale money printing will drive fiat inflation, especially in economically weaker countries, applying upward pressure to Bitcoin’s (BTC) price long-term. In the past, the Federal Reserve’s main tool to stimulate the economy was cutting the Fed funds rate. However, the Great Recession of 2008 changed everything. First, the Federal Reserve cut the Fed Funds Rate, which controls interest rates at the top level…

Bank of America: Trend For 2020s Will be the “End of Globalization”

Bank of America says that one of the dominant trends for the 2020s will be the “end of globalization” as countries increasingly realize that the phenomenon has brought unsustainable “social disruption.” In a report mapping out what to expect over the next decade, BofA analysts said that largely unchecked globalization, which ran roughly from 1981-2016, “is coming to an end.” This change will take place due to “the widespread recognition that while globalization has meant lower consumer prices, it has also meant slower growth, precarious employment and social disruption.” This massive shift will make commodities like precious metals and real…

David Stockman on What an Audit of the Federal Reserve Could Really Reveal

Doug Casey’s Note: David Stockman is a former congressman and director of the Office of Management and Budget under Ronald Reagan. Now, anyone with connections to the government should elevate your suspicion level. But as you’ll see, David is a genuine opponent of government stupidity. Although his heroic fight against the Deep State during the Reagan Administration was doomed, he remains a strong advocate for free markets and a vastly smaller government. We get together occasionally in the summer, when we’re both in Aspen. He’s great company and one of the few people in this little People’s Republic that I…

Auto Lenders Have Verified Income On Just 7% Of All Loans Since 2017

The auto industry in 2019 is starting to look a lot like the subprime mortgage market in 2007. One such example of an industry trying to move vehicle inventory by any means necessary was Mirna Lopez, a 65 year old who was able to buy a 2018 Nissan Pathfinder on monthly earnings of just $660. Her car loan’s monthly payment was slated to be $809. How was this possible? The Wall Street Journal reports that an employee at the dealership that sold her the car simply listed her monthly earnings at $7,833. Nothing creative, nothing fancy: just plain old fraud.…

“Worst Market In 30 Years” – 400,000 Commodity Railcars Sit Idle Amid Industrial Recession

Wells Fargo, Citigroup, PNC Financial Service Group, and CIT Group accumulated hundreds of thousands of commodity hauling railcars in North America over the last decade. These banks believed railcars carrying coal, grain, and other commodities were going to be highly profitable but have recently turned out to be a major headache as many cars are now in storage because of new regulations and demand woes brought on by fluctuating commodity markets. David Nahass, president of Railroad Financial Corp., which provides advisory services to railroad firms, told The Wall Street Journal that “the industry is suffering, there are no two ways about…

Duke Energy Paid Less Than Zero in Federal Taxes

The nation’s largest investor-owned electric utility – which is seeking huge customer rate hikes, making puny investments in renewable energy and emitting vast amounts of pollution that worsen the climate crisis – paid less than zero in federal taxes in 2018. In a new report on the impact of President Trump’s tax cuts, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, or ITEP, said Duke Energy’s effective federal tax rate in 2018 was minus 21.4 percent on more than $3 billion in revenue. In effect, U.S. taxpayers paid $647 million to the North Carolina-based utility, which serves 7.7 million customers in…

USA Exports More Blood Than Soybeans or Corn

Blood is a living tissue made up of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma. The main role of blood in your body is to transport oxygen. It also plays a role in fighting infection, regulating your pH level and temperature, and transporting nutrients and hormones. It also has specialized cells to promote blood clotting. One factor in blood type — A, B, AB or O — is hereditary and determined by the presence or absence of two antigens, A and B. Your blood type is determined together with a third antigen called Rh factor. Plasma, a mixture…

Bankers around the globe are facing the biggest job cuts in four years…

Bankers around the globe are facing the biggest job cuts in four years, and their troubles could continue in 2020 as lenders are trying to cope with rising competition amid a slowing economy. Nearly 78,000 people are set to lose their jobs, as more than 50 banks have revealed plans to downsize their workforce this year, according to Bloomberg, citing filings by the companies and labor unions. It is the highest number since 2015, when 91,448 employees in the banking sector were let go. European banks will see the biggest layoffs, as they plan to cut more than 63,500 jobs…

New Generation Of Starbucks Baristas Being Trained On Rikers Island

Administrators at New York’s Rikers Island prison have thought of an ingenious plan for a steady supply of lattes, mochas and other artisan beverages that would otherwise cost $4.00 on their way to work; train inmates to become baristas! ndeed, one of the country’s most notorious jails has an in-house coffee shop that “pops up twice daily in the staff lounge,” serving a picky prison staff their favorite caffeinated indulgence just right, according to the New York Times. Officer Green wanted her vanilla latte piping hot. “With vanilla on top, not a lot, just a drizzle, and very hot, don’t…

Newly released documents show T-Mobile considered a merger with the media giant Comcast, in addition to its merger with Sprint, in a plan to create one of the biggest companies in the world

T-Mobile has been planning a merger with Sprint for years in a bid to better compete with competitors like Verizon and AT&T. The merger was given the green light by the Federal Communications Commission in November, but it has been met with intense pressure by state and federal regulators. As part of the scrutiny into T-Mobile, new documents made public on Monday, and first reported by The Verge, revealed a road map for the company, including a potential merger with the telecommunications and media giant Comcast. The documents from December 2015 show that T-Mobile had considered a two-step merger: First,…

Congress gives America a special Christmas present: higher taxes

You’ve got to hand it to these people– Congress really knows how to bring out the holiday cheer. They have some sort of pathological need to pass the most absurd legislation at the VERY END OF THE YEAR giving people very little time to react. Two years ago, for example, they passed comprehensive tax reform in late December 2017… and the new tax code went into effect only a few days later. Taxpayers had no time to even understand the new law, let alone plan around it. That’s the funny thing about taxes– people plan their entire lives around the…

70% Of US Homes “Unaffordable” To Average American

The general trend of torrid housing market growth fueled by low interest rates and a tight supply continued largely unchanged during the last quarter of the decade, as most expected it would. Though buyers who have struggled with highly unaffordable home prices in recent years did see a bit of a respite. On Wednesday, Attom published its Q4 2019 report on home affordability in the US. The report showed that the dominant trend of the past few years was still very much in place. To wit, the median home prices in the fourth quarter of 2019 were unaffordable for average…

The Average Millennial Has A Subprime Credit Score

As Millennials rage against older generations of Americans, they appear to have forgotten one thing: their own deplorable credit score, or as Experian notes, “what many people might not know: Millennials also have one of the lowest average credit scores of any generation.” As the following chart from Deutsche Bank shows, the average FICO score for both the Millennial and the younger, Gen Z, generation is below 669, the level that defines Subprime borrowers. Why are millennials scores low? Rod Griffin, director of consumer education and awareness at Experian, recently said part of it may be that “because they are…

The Wealth Redistribution Scam that Is “Inflation”

The world over people are told that central banks pursue “price stability” by making sure that consumer goods prices do not rise by more than 2 percent per annum. This is, of course, a big sham. If the prices of goods rise over time, it does not take that much to understand that prices do not remain stable. And if the prices of goods increase over time, it necessarily means that the purchasing power of the money unit declines. As money loses its purchasing power, income and wealth are stealthily redistributed. Some individuals and groups of people are enriched at…

HSBC hikes overdraft charge to 40%…

Global bank HSBC is setting a single annual overdraft rate of 39.9% for its U.K. customers, as it scraps daily charges for people who go into unarranged borrowing on their account. The new interest rate on both arranged and unarranged overdrafts comes into place on March 14, 2020, and will be charged on the amount borrowed. HSBC currently charges between 9.9% and 19.9% of interest on arranged overdrafts. The bank is removing the £5 ($6.57) daily usage fee for unarranged overdrafts and reducing the monthly maximum cost for using an unarranged overdraft to £20 from £80. HSBC is also introducing…

This Christmas, Over Half a Million Americans Will Struggle With Homelessness

While millions of Americans celebrate Christmas this year with loved ones, carving turkey and sharing gifts, others are not so fortunate. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, over half a million of us will spend Christmas on the streets. The government agency estimates that on any given day, around 553,000 Americans are homeless. A third of those are families with young children. African Americans and those with disabilities are particularly likely to become homeless. Yet these distressing numbers are sure to be underestimates of the true problem as they do not include the many more sleeping in…

Repocalypse: The Second Coming

This little monster that feeds beneath the surface of global banking at its core briefly raised one ugly eye out of the water as 2018 turned into 2019. I wrote back then that the interest spike we saw in the kind of overnight interbank lending known as repurchase agreements (repos) was just the foreshock of a financial crisis being created by the Fed’s monetary tightening. I said the Fed’s continued tightening would eventually result in a full-blown recession that would emerge, likely out of the repo market, sometime in the summer. In the very last week of summer, the Repo…

Gold Price Enjoys Decade’s Highest Rise…

Traders have not only singled out the current favourable conditions for the growth of gold prices but also shared their tremendously bullish expectations for the asset’s performance next year. It has been a good year for gold, which traded at a staggering more than 15 per cent higher than the year before. The gain is the strongest in almost a decade,  the South China Morning Post reported, citing the extraordinary uptick in the precious metal’s value. The gold price climbed over 1,551 USD per ounce on 4 September, amid a peak in general uncertainty in the markets, caused mainly by the US-China trade…

The State of the Canadian Debt Slaves, How They Compare to American Debt Slaves, and the Bank of Canada’s Response

Canadian households, rated near the top of the most indebted in the world, accomplished something awe-inspiring: They got even more indebted and their leverage rose to a new record, according to data released today by Statistics Canada. The portion of their disposable income (total incomes from all sources minus taxes) that Canadian households spent on making principal and interest payments, including on mortgage debts and non-mortgage debts such as credit card balances, reached a new record of 14.96% in the third quarter,  This record beat the prior record of 2007, and this happened despite still ultra-low interest rates: Mortgage debt…

GM, Ford and others cut thousands of jobs and closed factories to save billions in 2019

General Motors, Ford Motor and other automakers in the past year cut thousands of jobs and shuttered factories as industry vehicle sales slow and fears of an economic slowdown pick up. No one is forecasting an industry downturn comparable to when vehicle sales dropped below 11 million in the U.S. in 2009. However, domestic sales next year are forecast to drop for a second consecutive year in 2020 to below 17 million vehicles. Global vehicle sales also are expected to fall by about 3.1 million in 2019 – the steepest year-over-year decline since the financial crisis a decade ago. Automakers…

How Congress and the Federal Reserve Stole Christmas

The bickering over impeachment did not stop the president and Congress from coming together last week to avert a government shutdown by passing a 1.4 trillion dollar spending package. The bipartisan agreement has something for everyone — a 22 billion dollars increase to bring total spending on militarism to 738 billion dollars, and a 27 billion dollars increase to bring total spending on domestic programs to 632 billion dollars. It also imposes a national ban on selling tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to anyone under 21. The agreement was split into two bills. Both bills were unveiled last Monday afternoon. The…

Steven Mnuchin Explains Why $1.5 Trillion In $100 Bills Have Disappeared

Last week we reported that something strange was going on at the same time that central banks are injecting $100 billion each month in electronic money to crush volatility and ramp markets: a similar amount in physical currency and precious metals was literally disappearing. The mystery, in a nutshell, was as follows: while banks are printing more bank notes than ever, these seem to be “disappearing off the face of the earth” and nobody knows where or why, or as the WSJ notes, “central banks don’t know where they have gone, or why, and are playing detective, trying to crack…

As the Fiscal Doomsday Machine Powers On – Impeach the Congress, Too!

On December 16 the gross Federal debt breached a new level to $23.1 trillion, while the net debt after $401 billion of cash weighed in at $22.71 trillion. The latter monstrous figure is notable because on June 30, 2019 it stood at $21.76 trillion. So what has happened in the last 167 days is a $948 billion increase in the Uncle Sam’s net debt, which amounts to a gain of $5.7 billion per day – including, as we like to say, weekends, holidays and snow days. Worse still, not a single dollar of that gain got absorbed in government trust…

The Federal Reserve is the Most Dangerous Enemy of the U.S. and its Economy

“Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin. The Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create deposits, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again. However, take it away from them, and all the great fortunes like mine will disappear and they ought to disappear, for this would be a happier and better world to live in. But, if you wish to remain the slaves of Bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create…

“I Find It Very Troubling” – Most Americans Lack Savings

The economy might be strong in the U.S., but, as Statista’s Maria Vultaggio details below, nearly 70 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 stashed away, according to GOBankingRates’ 2019 savings survey. The poll, released December 16, revealed 45 percent have nothing saved. The survey questioned 846 respondents November 25 to 26. You will find more infographics at Statista The discovery baffled Bruce McClary, the spokesman for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. “It’s puzzling to me that if the economy is doing so well and that we’re so close to full employment, that consumer confidence is up … that we…

California homelessness ‘at crisis level’ with uptick of %16.4 percent this year – HUD

The US has seen a 2.7 percent increase in homeless population this year, and California is leading the way, adding more street homeless population than all other states combined, a new government report has found. The fresh report by the Housing and Urban Development Department released Friday has laid bare the problem of rising homelessness that has been plaguing an array of US states, but none of them has experienced a crisis of such proportions as one of the wealthiest states in the country, California, is now facing. 21,306 more people have been homeless at least on a single night in…

All I want for Christmas is $23tn in debt: Rand Paul lays waste to reckless US spending in annual Festivus Report

Offering some relief from the impeachment spectacle grinding on in Washington, Senator Rand Paul has released his yearly Festivus Report, chronicling the outrageous – but sometimes comical – spending habits of the US government. Whether it’s funding costly studies on the mating calls of Panamanian frogs, spending millions to improve the quality of television in Moldova or bankrolling Peru’s Green New Deal, Washington has found a number of creative ways to blow through tax dollars in 2019. In an epic “airing of grievances” inspired by the TV sitcom Seinfeld, Paul (R-KY) pulled no punches for the federal spendthrifts. It’s that…