Daily Digest 8/17 – Five Risks Facing The U.S. Economy, Nearly Half Of U.S. Adults Have Layoff Anxiety


The trade war is already lost, Trump is doomed and this investment is about to go ‘ballistic,’ strategist says (Thomas R.)

With the mainstream buzzing with recession fears, Schiff points out that investors are calling for the Fed to cut rates and go back to quantitative easing. But, he warned, this won’t have the impact of prior QEs, where everybody makes money.

Wells Fargo closed company’s accounts, but the fees continued to mount (Sparky1)

Current and former bank employees said Mr. Einaudi got charged because of the way Wells Fargo’s computer system handles closed accounts: An account the customer believes to be closed can stay open if it has a balance, even one below zero. And each time a transaction is processed for an overdrawn account, Wells Fargo tacks on a fee.

Here are five risks facing the US economy (Thomas R.)

The money Americans spend each day on coffees, cars and clothing helps to account for about two-thirds of economic growth. And the fact that Americans haven’t shied away from spending at a solid clip this year despite a turbulent trade war with China has helped to balance out weaknesses in other pockets of the economy.

Consumer Confidence Crashes As Rate-Cut Triggered “Apprehensions About A Recession” (Roger B.)

Consumers “strongly reacted” to the proposed increases in tariffs on Chinese goods, a subject that was spontaneously cited by 33% of those surveyed, near the recent peak of 37%, according to the report. Americans also concluded, following the Federal Reserve’s first interest-rate cut in a decade, that they may need to be more cautious about spending in anticipation of a potential recession, the report said.

U.S. Weighs Selling 50- and 100-Year Bonds After Yields Plummet (Thomas R.)

The U.S. Treasury Department said Friday that it wants to know what investors think about the government potentially issuing 50-year or 100-year bonds, going way beyond the current three-decade maximum.

Top U.S. medical centers roll out DNA sequencing clinics for healthy (and often wealthy) clients (Adam)

Genomic sequencing programs that cater to apparently healthy adults have been started in the past few years at the Mayo Clinic; the University of California, San Francisco; and the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, a nonprofit research institution in Alabama. Now, two top Boston hospitals are getting into the potentially lucrative business.

GE On The “Verge of Insolvency” Claims Whistleblower Report (Thomas R.)

Specifically, the report alleges that over the years, GE has changed its financial statement reporting formats every few years to make it nearly impossible to compare the numbers year by year in an effort to conceal unfavorable financials. GE has for decades, according to Markopolos, provided top line revenue and bottom line profits only, leaving out COGS, SG&A, R&D and corporate overhead. The fraud may go as deep as $38 billion, the report says.

Argentine Crisis 2019: 5 Things People are doing to Prepare (pinecarr)

(1) Stocking up on food,

(2) Stocking up on household supplies (toilet paper, soap, etc.)

(3) Safety (preparing against violence): guns, bullets & body armor

(4) Networking: trying to get along, organizing, [creating] community

(5) Considering change in location

The Battle of the ‘Flations has Begun (thc0655)

It’s staring us in the face every day. The markets keep telling us this. Oil can’t rally on war threats. Equity markets tread water violently as currencies break down technically. Gold is in a bull market. Billions flow through Bitcoin to avoid insane capital controls.

Any existential threat to the current order is to be squashed. It’s reflexive behavior at this point. But, as the Epstein murder spotlights so brilliantly, this reflexive behavior is now a Hobson’s Choice.

Nearly Half Of U.S. Adults Have Layoff Anxiety: Survey (Adam)

Younger, less experienced workers may face more challenges finding or switching jobs during a recession. Gen Z and millennial employees — 23% of those aged 18-34 and 19% of those aged 35-44 — were about twice as likely to experience difficulty in finding/switching jobs during the Great Recession than those ages 45-54 (11%) and 55-64 (9%).

The ‘bloodbath’ in America’s trucking industry has officially spilled over to the rest of the economy (Thomas R.)

Trucking is often looked at as a leading indicator of where the rest of the economy is headed. As 71% of America’s freight is moved on trucks, companies foreseeing needing fewer trucks is typically an omen of an economic downturn: If manufacturers are producing less and people are buying less, there’s less of a need to move goods.

UPS Has Been Delivering Cargo in Self-Driving Trucks for Months And No One Knew (tmn)

TuSimple claims it can cut the average cost of shipping in a tractor-trailer by 30 percent. In an announcement about the new partnership, UPS Ventures managing partner, Todd Lewis, said the venture arm “collaborates with startups to explore new technologies and tailor them to help meet our specific needs.”

And Now, the Really Big Coal Plants Begin to Close (Thomas R.)

The Navajo Generating Station isn’t alone. It’s among a new wave of super-polluters headed for the scrap heap. Bruce Mansfield, a massive coal plant in Pennsylvania, emitted nearly 123 million tons between 2010 and 2017. It, too, will be retired by year’s end (Energywire, Aug. 12).

Deere struggles as farmers fret about the trade war (Thomas R.)

Still, there was some good news from Johnny Tractor. Despite the concerns in the heartland, Allen said that “general economic conditions remain positive.” That’s boosting its construction and forestry business, which accounts for 30% of Deere’s total sales.

Why there is ‘shock and distrust’ among U.S. farmers (Thomas R.)

“I have worked for the Risk Management Agency for over 19 years and the scope of the prevented planting impacts this year is much larger than I’ve ever seen,” Matt Mitchell, chief, Loss Adjustment Standards branch of the USDA Risk Management Agency, told AccuWeather.

E.P.A. Backtracks on Use of ‘Cyanide Bombs’ to Kill Wild Animals (Thomas R.)

“This issue warrants further analysis and additional discussions by E.P.A. with the registrants of this predacide,” Mr. Wheeler said in a statement on Thursday. “I look forward to continuing this dialogue to ensure U.S. livestock remain well protected from dangerous predators while simultaneously minimizing off-target impacts on both humans and nonpredatory animals.”

First-ever mandatory water cutbacks will kick in next year along the Colorado River (Sparky1)

Reservoirs were approaching levels last year that would have triggered a shortage and required deeper cuts, but heavy snow across much of the Rocky Mountains this winter boosted runoff and raised reservoir levels. The river’s reservoirs are now at 55% of total capacity, up from 49% at the same time last year.

The West Is Trading Water for Cash. The Water Is Running Out (Sparky1)

The threat to fresh water is of course global in scope. Last week, the World Resources Institute reported that access to water for hundreds of millions of people is now at risk due to global warming. Along the Colorado River, climate change is also taking its toll, responsible for aridification—the progression from cyclical drought to a permanent decrease in water.

You could be swallowing a credit card’s weight in plastic every week (Thomas R)

Microplastics have been found in many everyday foods and drinks, such as water, beer, shellfish and salt, co-lead researcher Kala Senathirajah told CNN.

Gold & Silver

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