308 Million Americans are getting hosed

SurlyTrader: A Bull Trap?

Bullish sentiment is rising, the VIX is falling; a bull trap could be forming. The scenario: a marginal new high and all the longs and under invested hedge fund managers start buying heavily and the shorts abandon ship. Then when everyone is long, a massive sell off ensues. Everyone is aware of the inverse head and shoulders and the resistance at 1292 and when everyone is aware of something, it rarely works as it should. Tensions in Iran could goose the price of oil, but what could result in lower oil prices? The only thing that comes to mind is a global recession. So if oil prices keep rising how does that affect earnings and of course stocks?

Doug Kass is Bullish

Big surprise, but he was largely right of 2011 being a flat year so let’s give him a little benefit of the doubt. What is one of the reasons for his bullishness? Important market participants like hedge funds and other big investors are underinvested (at least according to him) so they will feel compelled to buy. But with all the iceberg risk lurking under the surface are hedge funds really underinvested or are the positioned properly for the fat tails and black swans that are still lurking in 2012?

Mish: Greece struggling to buy Aspirin, but no problem buying tanks and submarines

Good to see that the Greeks have their priorities right.

Charles Hugh Smith: Health is the True Wealth and How Doctors Choose to Die

Treating chronic illness is much more profitable than promoting simple lifestyle choices that prevent illness. Perhaps that is why so much is spent on sickcare instead of preventative healthcare. Health is the true wealth because without health, wealth cannot be enjoyed for long. Everyone dies (this includes doctors too), but not everyone truly lives. What do doctors do when they are dying? They know about the latest medical treatments and they generally have good access to these treatments. So why do many doctors not take advantage of them and instead focus on spending more time with their families as their time draws near?

Simon Black: 308M Americans are getting hosed

Your banker is being forced by the government to spy on you. In the world of financial transactions, instead of innocent until proven guilty, you are guilty unless proven innocent and your assets could be completely frozen even if you are innocent. So you’d have no way to hire a lawyer to defend yourself against false accusations. What is your backup plan?

Mish: The Pink Elephant in the Room

Exponential population growth meets limited resources. Will technology save the day? Will population growth slow down into a soft landing? Or will something much more sinister, like a population overshoot, happen?

Mish: Iran not developing nukes?

At least that’s what Defense Secretary Panetta says.

Mauldin: Shilling’s Forecasts in One Word


Bob Januah: Nothing’s Changed

Too much debt; only action by policy makers is to print more and borrow more; the eurozone is still doomed; expect QE3; growth is slowing despite fleeting countertrend spikes; still targeting S&P at 800.

Middleton: An Inferior Educational System is What Ails Us

After channeling Du Bois, Middleton describes what is wrong with the American educational system and posits a few thoughts on how to fix things. It is a very long read and will get much longer as this is only the first part of a multi-part treatise.

Charles Hugh Smith: Preparing for the End of the Central State

The central state and other large institutions are topping out, local post offices are being shut down and even Walmart is hitting the peak of its growth curve. Depending on a strategy of begging for central state funding of local initiatives is doomed to failure as central states are on the wrong end of the S-curve. The solution is localism.