America Is Overdue for Another Economic Disaster
Source: Will/National Review
“Underneath the current economic boom, there are some truly worrying signs. This Wednesday, according to the Financial Times’ Robin Wigglesworth and Nicole Bullock, ‘the U.S. stock market will officially have enjoyed its longest-ever bull run’…And September 15 will be the tenth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Bros., the fourth-largest U.S. investment bank. History’s largest bankruptcy filing presaged the October 2008 evaporation of almost $10 trillion in global market capitalization. The durable market rise that began March 6, 2009, is as intoxicating as the Lehman anniversary should be sobering: Nothing lasts. Those who see no Lehman-like episode on the horizon did not see the last one. Economists debate, inconclusively, this question: Do economic expansions die of old age (the current one began in June 2009) or are they slain by big events or bad policies? What is known is that all expansions end….Publicly held U.S. government debt has tripled in a decade. Despite today’s shrill discord between the parties, the political class is more united by class interest than it is divided by ideology. From left to right, this class has a permanent incentive to run enormous deficits – to charge, through taxation, current voters significantly less than the cost of the government goods and services they consume, and saddle future voters with the cost of servicing the resulting debt after the current crop of politicians has left the scene.”
Hackers steal 10m pounds from cash machines in global heist
“Cyber criminals have hacked cash machines in 28 countries to loot over 10 million pounds from an Indian bank. Hackers infected the bank’s credit card payment system with malware, which allowed them to approve transactions and access client accounts. Fake credit cards were then used to force ATMs around the world to dispense cash worth about $13 million until they were empty. The attack on Cosmos Bank, based in the Indian city of Pune, came just days after a warning of an imminent attack from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) last week. The FBI issued a warning to global banks that it feared there would be a global cyber attack of ATMs within days…The FBI said that it had intelligence that criminals were going to hack into a banking system using a highly choreographed fraud scheme known as ATM ‘jackpotting’, in which crooks hack a bank or payment card processor and use cloned cards at cash machines around the world to take out millions in just a few minutes….ATM jackpotting is increasingly common. In one incident in Thailand in 2016, thieves made off in minutes with 12 million baht or about 280,000 pounds from cash machines by targeting ATMs run by Government Savings Bank, a state-owned Thai bank based in Bangkok.”
George Washington gold coin sells for $1.7 million
“An 18th century gold coin featuring the likeness of first U.S. President George Washington sold for $1.7 million at auction on Thursday, with the net proceeds going to charity, the auction house said. The 1792 Washington President gold eagle coin was never circulated as money but is instead thought to have been presented to Washington when post-Revolutionary War plans were being drawn up for the first U.S. Mint, according to Heritage Auctions. ‘Numismatic researchers widely agree it is one of the most important coins in American history,’ Heritage co-founder Jim Halperin said in statement announcing the sale….The U.S. Mint was authorized in 1792 and the first coins for public use were issued a year later in copper and silver, with images of lady Liberty on the front and a bald eagle on the back. The Washington President coin comes from the collection of the late Eric. P. Newman, who acquired it privately in 1942.”
America’s Real Economy: It Isn’t Booming
“All the official indicators say we’re back in boom times, with a bull market, low unemployment and steady job growth. But there is an alternative set of data that depicts a different America, where the overlooked majority struggles from month to month….But about 12% of Americans (43 million) are considered poor, and yet they are employed. They earn an individual income below $12,140 per year, and slightly more than that for a family of two. If you include housing and medical expenses in the calculation, it raises the percentage of Americans living in poverty to 14%. That’s 45 million people. At that level of income, there’s almost no way to pay for food and shelter in any sizeable American city. That means people now can both be employed and homeless….A third of the U.S. population has no savings and another third has saved less than $1,000. Two-thirds of American households are desperately scrambling to make ends meet from check to check….There are numerous ways in which our wealthiest companies could help change the course of our economy…Get involved in early education for children of employees….Fund higher education for existing employees….Businesses also should look to re-employ the long-term unemployed.”
Would Trump impeachment ‘crash’ stocks, as president says?
Source: USA Today
“President Donald Trump, who has taken a lot of credit for the stock market boom since he took office, says a ‘crash’ would happen if he were impeached. But Wall Street begs to differ, arguing that the forces driving the nearly $30 trillion U.S. stock market are far bigger and stronger than the influence of one person, even one as powerful as the nation’s commander in chief. ‘One man does not move the market over the long term,’ says Thorne Perkin, president of Papamarkou Wellner Asset Management in New York….The broad Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index has climbed 25 percent since Trump took office, and the nation’s economy grew 4.1 percent last quarter, its fastest pace since 2014. But money managers stress that the stock market’s longer-term direction and health are less about political drama and more about the overall strength of America’s economy Still, news of an impending push to impeach Trump could cause short-term market turbulence. Uncertainty would spike, something investors abhor.”
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