Danes Rethink a Welfare State Ample to a Fault – NY Times

Having lived in Denmark – this brings back some memories even though it was 30+ years ago. I remember one landlord we had. He was a chef and a diabetic. He would work for a couple of months and then quit so he could collect unemployment which was about 90% of what he was making when he was working. Then he would spend the next 1-2 years drinking at his local bar. There was no incentive for him to be productive or to better himself. The danish welfare state nurtured him into a state of dependency and idleness. Very sad.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/world/europe/danes-rethink-a-welfare-state-ample-to-a-fault.html

 

Is Quantitative Easing Creating Unwanted Bubbles?

The Dow set an alltime record today (Mar. 5, 2013). The last time the Dow / Stock Market was this high was in Oct. 2007. Here are some interesting statistics comparing then vs now.

~ Dow Jones Industrial Average:   Then 14164.5;   Now 14164.5

~ Regular Gas Price:   Then $2.75;   Now $3.73

~ GDP Growth:   Then +2.5%;   Now +1.6%

~ Americans Unemployed (in Labor Force):   Then 6.7 million;   Now 13.2 million

~ Americans On Food Stamps:   Then 26.9 million;   Now 47.69 million

~ Size of Fed’s Balance Sheet:   Then $0.89 trillion;   Now $3.01 trillion

~ US Debt as a Percentage of GDP:   Then ~38%;   Now 74.2%

~ US Deficit (LTM):   Then $97 billion;   Now $975.6 billion

~ Total US Debt Oustanding:   Then $9.008 trillion;   Now $16.43 trillion

~ US Household Debt:   Then $13.5 trillion;   Now 12.87 trillion

~ Labor Force Particpation Rate:   Then 65.8%;   Now 63.6%

~ Consumer Confidence:   Then 99.5;   Now 69.6

~ S&P Rating of the US:   Then AAA;   Now AA+

~ VIX:   Then 17.5%;   Now 14%

~ 10 Year Treasury Yield:   Then 4.64%;   Now 1.89%

~ EURUSD:   Then 1.4145;   Now 1.3050

~ Gold:   Then $748;   Now $1583

~ NYSE Average LTM Volume (per day): Then 1.3 billion shares; Now 545 million shares

There are some very troubling numbers in there – and the trend is not good. It appears that the Quantitative Easing the Fed has been doing is creating a bubble or multiple bubbles that will be very scary when they pop.

America’s Baby Bust

The nation’s falling fertility rate is the root cause of many of our problems. And it’s only getting worse.

Excellent article talking about some of the root problems in society today.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323375204578270053387770718.html