While it's easy to conclude that the Polar Vortex has been responsible for an excess of school shutdowns and ice related traffic snarls, it's much harder to conclude that the it's responsible for the economic vortex that appears to have swallowed the American economy over the past three months.
As the financial crisis took hold, a flood of new and inexperienced buyers entered the market, creating an opportunity for unscrupulous metals dealers to swindle their way to massive profits.
Mark Zuckerberg, the owner of Facebook, is not your typical corporate CEO. Through a combination of technological smarts, timing, luck, and questionable business ethics, he became a billionaire before most of us bought our first cars.
In our current age of spin and counter-spin, there is no contortion too great for a politician to attempt. On occasion, however, the threads of one story become entangled with another in a manner that should deeply embarrass, if the media were sharp enough to catch it.
Gold is the simplest of financial assets - you either own it or you don't. Yet, at the same time, gold is also among the most private of assets. Once an individual locks his or her safe, that gold effectively disappears from the market at large.
Most economic observers are predicting that 2014 will be the year in which the United States finally shrugs off the persistent malaise of the Great Recession. As we embark on this sunny new chapter, we may ask what wisdom the five-year trauma has delivered.
The press has framed Ben Bernanke's valedictory press conference last week in heroic terms. It's as if a veteran quarterback engineered a stunning come-from-behind drive in his final game, and graciously bowed out of the game with the ball sitting on the opponent's one-yard line.
There can be little doubt that today's Fed announcement is an epic attempt at rhetorical audacity. The message they hope to convey is that they are tightening monetary policy by loosening it.
Earlier this week Congress tried to show that it is capable of tackling our chronic and dangerous debt problems. Despite the great fanfare I believe they have accomplished almost nothing.
Herd mentality can be as frustrating as it is inexplicable. Financial markets are currently following this pattern with respect to the unshakable belief that the Federal Reserve is ready, willing, and most importantly, able, to immediately execute a wind down of its quantitative easing program.
The signs of recovery that have caused investors and politicians to bubble with enthusiasm are just QE in disguise. Take away the QE and the economy would likely tilt back into an even more severe recession than the one we experienced before QE1 was launched.
It's starting to feel like we are part of a giant poker game against the US government, whose hand is the true condition of the American economy. The government has become so good at bluffing that most people feel compelled to watch how the biggest players in the game react to determine their own investment strategy.
If the Fed could not pull the trigger back in September with Ben Bernanke at the helm and the nation not yet traumatized by the debt ceiling drama and the Obamacare disaster, why should anyone expect tougher treatment from a Janet Yellen led Fed in a few months?
Given the government's enormous resources, it's safe to say that the site itself will ultimately be fixed. But when it is finally up and running, the plan's many deeper, and more intractable, flaws will come into focus. That's when the fun will really begin.
It is rare that investors are given a road map. It is rarer still that the vast majority of those who get it are unable to understand the clear signs and directions it contains.
In their assessments of Ms. Yellen's long career, Congressman, editors, and academics have underscored how her prescience and caution distinguish her from the reckless overconfidence that have plagued her male colleagues at the Federal Reserve.
Democrats, and the President in particular, believe that continually taking on more debt to pay existing debt is a more responsible course of action. Even worse, they appear to believe that debt accumulation is the equivalent of economic growth.
Now that Janet Yellen has been named to lead the Federal Reserve the global financial markets should factor out any possibility that the Fed will diminish their Quantitative easing program anytime during her tenure.
Anyone who bought the media buzz about a September reduction of QE - called the "taper" - was very surprised when the Federal Reserve announced that stimulus would continue unabated. According the the official narrative, inflation is under control and the labor market is steadily improving. Why wouldn't a modest taper be announced?
The Fed's failure to announce some sort of tapering of its QE program, despite the consensus of an overwhelming percentage of economists who expected action, once again reveals the degree to which mainstream analysts have overestimated the strength of our current economy.
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