Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: loans

Credit Card Debt Hits $1 Trillion; Wall Street and Michael Snyder Yawn

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, January 10, 2018: 

Michael Snyder rivals only David Stockman in his pessimistic economic outlook, reflecting that outlook by naming his blog “The Economic Collapse.” On the first day of the New Year, Michael dug into his files for the most “crazy” numbers from 2017. He found 44, including these:

One out of every ten young adults in the United States has been homeless at some point over the past year;

 

The United States has lost more than 70,000 manufacturing facilities since China joined the WTO in 2001;

 

A total of 6,985 store locations were shut down last year, and we are expected to break the record again in 2018:

 

Only 25 percent of all Americans have more than $10,000 in savings right now; and

 

44 percent of all U.S. adults do not even have enough money “to cover an unexpected $400 expense,” according to the Federal Reserve.

What’s missing from Michael’s list? Credit card debt, student loan debt, and vehicle financing debt. Surely he was aware of these numbers, but for some reason didn’t include them in his list. For the first time in history, credit card debt last year hit $1 trillion, eclipsing the record set back in 2008 following the real estate collapse and the beginning of the Great Recession. Snyder didn’t mention the nearly $3 trillion in “non-revolving” debt (i.e., auto and student loans) either. Seeking Alpha called these numbers “scary” but Snyder ignored them.

A closer look behind the numbers reveals that these may not be such “scary” numbers after all. Perhaps that’s why Snyder ignored them, simply because, by his definition, they didn’t qualify as “crazy.” For one thing, fewer than 40 percent of all households carry any sort of credit card debt. Among millennials ages 18 to 29 only a third even have a credit card.

Next, the ratio of income to credit card debt at the end of 2017 (before the new tax cuts) was already declining with the ratio of credit card debt compared to the nation’s gross domestic economic output at about 5 percent, compared with 6.5 percent in 2008.

Also, credit card delinquencies remain way below the 9 percent historical average, at just 7.5 percent, and far below the rate of 15 percent touched following the 2008 financial crisis.

There’s another way to look at credit card debt: compare outstanding balances to incomes.ValuePenguin performed such a service, showing that households with annual incomes of between $25,000 and $100,000 have less than $7,000 in outstanding balances on their credit cards. Further, that analysis showed that the average has increased only slightly since 2013.

With almost two million more people working today than held jobs a year ago, and others enjoying wage and salary increases, that $1 trillion in credit card debt becomes far less “scary.” In a $20 trillion economy that is growing at three percent a year, $1 trillion in credit card debt may reflect that growth as banks are willing to issue more cards to more credit-worthy individuals and those individuals, having perhaps learned lessons from the Great Recession, are using them more prudently. That “trillion” dollar number may instead reflect a growing and increasingly healthy economy employing more people making more money who are using credit opportunities more wisely.

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Sources:

USATodayCredit card debt hits new record, raising warning sign

SeekingAlpha.comCredit card debt on watch

Michael Snyder: 44 Numbers From 2017 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

ValuePenguin.com:  Average Credit Card Debt in America: 2017 Facts & Figures

Credit Card Debt Hits $1 Trillion, Raising Alarms

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, January 9, 2018: 

For the first time in history credit card debt hit $1 trillion last year, reported the Federal Reserve on Monday. This eclipsed the previous record set almost 10 years ago, just before the housing and credit bubbles burst. In addition, “non-revolving” (i.e. auto and student loans) debt is approaching $3 trillion.

These numbers have put credit card debt on “watch” at Seeking Alpha, which said that that trillion dollar number is “scary.”

A closer look behind the numbers reveals that these may not be such “scary” numbers after all.

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Student Loans in Default Traded for Broken Social Security Promises?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, January 1, 2017: 

On the surface, Representative Tom Garrett seems like an intelligent guy: a freshman member of the House from Virginia, he served previously as the Virginia Commonwealth’s attorney for Louisa County. He’s already earned himself a Freedom Index rating of 80 percent from the John Birch Society for his voting record in the House.

But at age 45 he is still paying off his student loans that helped him

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Craziest Idea of 2017: Let Students Pay Down Their College Loans by Delaying Their Social Security Benefits

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 1, 2018:  

What a world! Broken promises traded for other broken promises, and offered with a straight face!

Representative Tom Garrett (R-Va.) turns 46 in March and is still paying off his student loans. In less than 20 years he’ll qualify to retire under present Social Security rules. He put two-and-two together and came up with the Student Security Act (SSA): Pay down some of his student loans by pushing back his retirement age.

Specifically, Garrett’s bill (H.R.4584, which has four co-sponsors so far) would forgive

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S&P Downgrades China’s Credit Rating

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, September 21, 2017:  

Thanks to “diminished financial stability,” S&P Global Ratings downgraded China’s credit rating for the first time since 1999, adding, “China’s prolonged period of strong credit [debt] growth has increased its economic and financial risks. Although this credit [debt] growth had contributed to strong real gross domestic product growth and higher asset prices, we believe it has also diminished financial stability.”

The downgrade by S&P is the second one this year for China — Moody’s Investors Service dropped China’s rating in May — and was preceded by a warning from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in August that China’s growing debt binge was putting its economy into jeopardy.

The response by Chinese officials was as predictable as it was silly.

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Hurricane Harvey, President Trump Putting More Pressure on Venezuela

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Sunday, August 27, 2017:

On Friday President Donald Trump once again ramped up sanctions against Venezuela’s Marxist dictator, shutting off his ability to sell new debt or equity in the U.S. financial markets. On Saturday, Hurricane Harvey, the worst hurricane to hit the Gulf Coast in 50 years, has all but sealed Maduro’s fate.

Following Maduro’s installation of his illegal “constituent assembly” in July, President Trump placed sanctions on Maduro himself, freezing any and all of his assets lying within American jurisdiction. A week later Trump added a few of Maduro’s cronies to that list, and on August 9 he added a few more. At the time The New American expressed skepticism that they would have any effect on Maduro’s obstinacy and determination to continue policies that have caused Venezuela’s economy to shrink by 35 percent just since 2014.

On Friday the Trump administration broadened those sanctions to include

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Five Congressmen Demand the DOJ “Repudiate” Operation Choke Point

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, August 15, 2017: 

Logo of the United States Federal Deposit Insu...

Five Republican Congressmen fired off a letter last week to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Fed Chair Janet Yellen, and Acting U.S. Comptroller Keith Noreika, demanding that they repudiate the Obama administration’s successful and continuing efforts to strangle financially gun shops and other supposedly “high-risk” and “disreputable” businesses. Called Operation Choke Point, the program continues despite declamations from the Justice Department to the contrary.

Said the letter:

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Fracking’s Vicious Cycle Making Bondholders Nervous

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, July 20, 2017:

King Abdullah ibn Abdul Aziz in 2002

King Abdullah ibn Abdul Aziz

Investors in high-yield bonds issued by small fracking companies are getting nervous. Last year those bonds, according to Bloomberg, gained some 38 percent as they rebounded from lows set earlier. In June they slipped two percent. In the bond business, that’s enough to make bond fund managers and individual investors nervous. It’s bad enough that the S&P 500 Energy Sector Index of energy stocks has lost 16 percent so far this year. What’s worse is the vicious cycle that frackers find themselves in.

For instance,

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China’s Surveillance State Now Monitors Foreign Companies, as Well as Citizens

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, May 26, 2017:

A Cropped version of President George W. Bush ...

Xi Jinping, no friend of freedom

The Wall Street Journal’s claim that China’s surveillance state, which now records the behaviors of foreign companies operating there, is only intended to “monitor and rate” them falls far short of the communist government’s real intentions. Using sophisticated tracking technology — meters in chimneys monitoring air pollution, recording of excessive energy usage by a company’s meters, and so on — it intends to change the behavior of those companies to keep them in line with state policy and objectives.

China’s State Council — the government’s all-seeing eye — already monitors every citizen’s behavior.

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Moody’s Revelation: “Managed” Economies fail

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, May 26, 2017:  

Perhaps without knowing it, Moody’s downgrade of China one full notch on Wednesday exposed the fallacy of managed economies: that government bureaucrats with fancy degrees from the University of Chicago, Harvard, or Yale know what they’re doing. One of those fallacies that have been promoted for years came from Yale grad Arthur Laffer as far back as the Reagan administration. On the surface it sounds eminently logical: cut taxes and the economy will grow. The fallacy is knowing just how much to cut, whose to cut, when to cut, and how long to cut.

The Laffer Curve undergirds the whole idea of “supply side economics” –

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Moody’s Credit Downgrade of China First in Almost 30 Years

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, May 25, 2017:

China GDP

China GDP

Moody’s Investors Service, one of the big three credit-rating services in the country, downgraded China’s creditworthiness one full notch on Wednesday. It moved the world’s second-largest economy from Aa3 (“high quality [with] very low risk”) to A1 (Upper-medium grade [with] low credit risk”). It explained why:

The downgrade reflects Moody’s expectations that China’s financial strength will erode somewhat over the coming years, with economy-wide debt continuing to grow as potential growth slows.

That “potential growth” has been slowing since at least 2010. In that year Chinese government agencies reported growth in excess of 10 percent. By 2014, it had slowed to 7.3 percent, to 6.9 percent in 2015, and is now at a reported 6.7 percent.

Moody’s is late to the game.

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Stock Market’s Complacency Index Highest in 24 Years

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 8, 2017:  

Wall Street’s “complacency index” — a measure of confidence that stock prices will continue to rise — hit the highest level since 1993 on Monday. Alternatively called the VIX (for volatility index), it is often referred to as Wall Street’s “investor fear gauge.”

Translation: Investors presently appear to have no fear. The index compares investors betting, through their purchases of options, that the market will go up, to those betting to the contrary. When investor fear is high, the VIX will move above 30 or even higher. When fear declines, the VIX trades below 20. During the day on Monday the VIX touched 9.72, a level not seen in 24 years.

So complacent have investors become that the VIX has dropped by 45 percent just since April 13. By comparison,

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Trump’s Strange Reversal on Ex-Im Bank: Names One Opposed to It to Run It?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, April 17, 2017:

English: Congressman Justin Amash

Congressman Justin Amash

When Representative Justin Amash (R-Mich.) learned on Friday that President Trump intended to resuscitate the Export-Import Bank by naming two people to its board (it has been limping along with just three out of five board members present), he nailed it, tweeting, “ExIm corporate welfare bank is the symbol of D.C. cronyism. It steals from taxpayers to subsidize big corporations. End ExIm. Drain the Swamp.”

For a while it looked as if the Ex-Im Bank was for all intents and purposes dead. In 2015, the House failed to renew its charter for the first time since 1945. However,

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Is Trump Pulling a Pruitt – Putting an Anti-Ex-Im Exec in Charge of the Bank?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, April 17, 2017:

English: Export-Import Bank of the United Stat...

Many were surprised when President Trump named the EPA’s fiercest enemy – Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt – to head up the agency. For years Pruitt has raged against the agency for overstepping its bounds and writing rules, mandates, and regulations that negatively impacted the fossil fuel industry. He sued the agency more than a dozen times in the last eight years.

What was Trump thinking?

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Bank of America Fined Again; Board Likely to Laugh It Off

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, March 29, 2017:

Photo of Bank of America ATM Machine by Brian ...

Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein fined Bank of America $45 million on Thursday for deliberately and intentionally harming a young couple who got caught up the real estate collapse and had to downsize. Erik and Renee Sundquist made a down payment on a smaller home and borrowed the balance from Countrywide Home Loans. When they couldn’t make the payments on that loan, the couple was advised by Bank of America, which owned Countrywide, to default as a precondition for a loan modification in order to lower their payments.

Klein described what happened next in his ruling in Sundquist v. Bank of America as a series of events so fantastic and bizarre as to be nearly incomprehensible:

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Brazil’s Former President Lula to Stand Trial in Third Corruption Case

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, October 14, 2016:  

Brazil’s former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (shown), will stand trial for another instance of corruption relating to the scandal uncovered by Operation Car Wash, a corruption case that has engulfed Petrobras, the state-owned energy company, since 2014.

This time the prosecution is getting some help from one of those already tried, convicted, and sentenced to prison:

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Elon Musk: Once an Entrepreneur, Now a Crony Capitalist

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, June 9, 2016:  

In the early days, Elon Musk (shown above) made his fortune the usual way: by creating products and services that people could use, which they paid for using their own money, to improve their lives. Today, however, he has found a better way: using taxpayer guarantees to help fund his new ventures and reduce his risks while he enjoys the profits if they succeed.

In simple terms, Elon Musk has become a welfare queen on steroids,

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Revolving Credit Lines to Oil Industry Pose New Hazards to Banks

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, April 12, 2016:  

One Wells Fargo Center – Charlotte, North Caro...

One Wells Fargo Center – Charlotte, North Carolina

As earnings season on Wall Street starts, investors in the big banks are just now learning about unfunded revolving lines of credit (revolvers) that those banks extended to oil and energy related companies when times were better.

Ten of the largest U.S. banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo, just disclosed that they have $147 billion in unfunded revolvers, which are likely to expand their exposure to the energy industry just when they would rather reduce it.

Those banks have been setting aside loan loss reserves amounting to billions in anticipation of the inevitable:

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A Closer look at the Jobs Report

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, April 1, 2016:  

From a distance the jobs report issued on Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) looked pretty good: 215,000 new jobs were created by the economy in March while earnings, year-over-year, increased by 2.3 percent. The average hours worked remained stable, and the labor force participation rate rose off its recent record lows.

The numbers came from two sources: payroll numbers provided by businesses directly to the Labor Department, and household numbers provided by phone-call surveys.

In looking at the numbers, Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies LLC, a massive global investment firm headquartered in New York City, said that “we continue to generate a lot of jobs” without asking what kind. A closer look reveals

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It’s a Short-Covering Rally in Oil and Oil Stocks

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, March 9, 2016:  

With crude oil up more than 30 percent over the last week, and companies like SeaDrill and Chesapeake Energy up 125 percent and 250 percent, respectively, over the last five days, short covering has persuaded some that the bottom is in. Investors, especially short sellers, in the oil patch need lots of risk capital, a high risk tolerance, and a short memory.

Goldman Sachs called it a

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.