Markets and Cold: Search for Hidden Variables

We can begin with markets, which put on a rousing show yesterday as the Federal Reserve decided to “talk nice” and hold off on raising rates.

This was taken as constructive by most.  Except for one thing:  If the Trump Bump was continuing, there would be no doubt about would be zooming ahead.

They’re not.

In our aggregated markets view, predicated on the simple notion that there is only so much money washing around the world at any given moment, what we see is a deterioration in the Quarter-On-Quarter performance of “totaled markets” and it looks like this:

Initially, it looks like a mixed report card.  Sometimes the market goes up, sometime down.  But in terms of personal financial outlooks, the Quarter-On-Quarter  (QoQ) is not nearly as descriptive of personal long-term results as Year-On-Year (YoY) comparisons.  In this view, Trump could be pictured as losing the battle:

Hidden Variables

OMG, how many do you want?

NBC figures on lynch pin of the future will be the next 48-hours as the outcome of trade talks and earnings clarify.

But is there more to it?  Each of these is its own hellishly complicated multivariate study.

For example, under the trade umbrella, we need to consider China’s slowing economy as the roll people into “middle class.”  But, along with that, another data string deals with Taiwan and reunification.  And, sure, the contested “military islands” China is building.

Did I mention the Moon?  Remember, China’s been there more recently that the U.S. and may have interstellar dreams outpacing Trekkies here.  North Korea?  Yeah,  how many missile site do they have?  See what I mean by “hellishly complicated?”

The other angle on markets may be closer to a “hidden variable.”  How will people react when they find that the “tax break” of 2018 wazs a trade-off for limited to state and local tax write-offs?  And then, how many people will, as we note in the YoY comparison chasrt above, notice that they won’t have as much of a Trump Bump.  How many of those “financially disaffected” will lose faith in Trumps ability to “pull it out” in the final hours of Term One.  He’s up against a clock.

For republicans, the simplistic answers of wannabe socialists on the radicalizing left may actually help.  Give AOC enough mics and she’ll hang the whole democrat party.  Ditto with Bernie.  His biggest problem is half-wit ideas like the “penny-a-share” tax on stock sales won’t even freeze the growth of the National Debt.

It’s another example of why democrats need someone like Howard Schultz, but he may not be “nutty-enough” for today’s phone-freaked radicals (PFR’s). ( We use the terms Digilantes and Digital Mob Rule (the DMR) more or less interchangeably.)

Schultz, at least, can read a balance sheet, run the numbers, and act in accordance with the data.  What we need as a president is someone more “data intensive” and “consensus-building.”  Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of Trump but so far, the democrats (and their puppets in  the MainStreamMedia have done a masterful job of playing “Pin the Shutdown on the President.”  Which is pretty slick when you look at the part-time presence and sun splashing the democrats have been enjoying.  Winter must just be for voters.

Too many variables for us because of commodity prices, too.  We see Gold is well above the $1,300 level and Silver is back up $16.  Oil is quickly firming, as well.  And all of these things are what one would expect if we have been in a wave 4 and still have a year or two of a wave 5 which could bring new all-time highs.

We will know a lot more, as NBC put it, in the next 96-hours.  But there is some firming around the edges.  Whether it holds is another thing.  New all-time highs would be an indicator.  Then it would only be a matter of “how far is up.”  Still, Bitcoin at $3,417 earlier and general pricing levels of the collectibles on eBay that I track (still quite firm) offer the notion that we may get another couple of years to prepare for the ultimate implosion.

This afternoon’s H.6 money stocks measure may reveal more…and so may the weekend results of trade talks.

Climatology Matters

As the record-smashing cold continues in the upper Midwest and Northeast, we have two useful ideas to toss out:

The first is a look at this morning’s US weather data from the government which looks like this:

And then I want you to look at a piece of a graphic off the Wikipedia entry page under Laurentide Ice Sheet.

The point of comparing the Ice Sheet coverage map with the seriously over-hyped, total climate-monetization hustle ” is to see that the area of the “vortex” has a long history of being, pardon me for saying this aloud…cold.

Earlier this week, I showed you the climate data collected from the NOAA time series and nope, didn’t see any appreciable warming and that ought to scare the hell out of people.  Why?

Because exactly the opposite of what climate Nazis were spewing (all electric vehicles, go solar, kill coal) would be the right response to cooling.  In the long run, Robert Felix seems more likely to be right in his book Not by Fire but by Ice: Discover What Killed the Dinosaurs…and Why It Could Soon Kill Us.  The data seems to be rolling his way lately.  Yes, the book, has been out for years.  But, that doesn’t make it wrong.

Just like David Docker’s book “Cash in on the Coming Real Estate Crash: How to Protect Yourself From Losses ”  which came out in 2006 was extremely prescient.  Wrong for the first year or two, but then?

In all of this, there is a huge lesson for the phonetard generation.  The advice is “Try to Shut the f**k up and study the data.”

If there is one thing I have seen in today’s under 50’s it’s that they attack ideas with nothing more than phone mob data to back them up.  Anger and personality, and it’s all ab out them.

Sorry, children:  It’s not.  It’s about the effing data.  Get the data right and you get a better life.  Get it wrong and you don’t.

Getting pissy, flaming, tweeting, reposting, BCC’ing…it’s all the lazy people stuck firmly in their personal digital moment (PDM).

The Sweep of History buries the unaware… so please, try to look to the horizon instead of the screen in your life.  Instead of spewing anger all over the place, put love in your heart and remember to an advanced human There is always another question. (Anger and opinion don’t answer or solve anything.)

We live in a “split world” now.  Digilantes who don’t ask, or if they do, can’t hear and don’t respect anything that questions Digital Mob Rule.  The DMR is here, just coming into focus.

Have humans advanced since the Laurentide Sheet?

Well, not so much.  While I’d hoped America had outgrown the horrors of lynching people because of their race, we have re-monetized hate and we’re now doing daily digital lynchings.

Social Media is not social.  It’s Digital Mob Rule – The Spiteful Hive.  And yes, I’m working on a new book after the one on solar power I’m writing for Peoplenomics subscribers.

Broken Web II, a follow up to my 2012  book Broken Web The Coming Collapse of the Internet. You may not see it, if you “live on the web” b ut yeah, mob rule is here and it’s becoming all-pervasive.

Sick, screwed up place.  But, as always, we gotta “tell it like it is.”

We either recognize digital mob rule and come to terms with it, or we will accelerate the monetization of hate and the digital lynchings to come.  Social media is now more dangerous to heart-centered humans than atomic energy, EMP, and bioweapons combined.

Tech-Centered Growth

Notwithstanding young people going straight to anger (and not takin g the time to ask another questions (like, oh “Why do you say that? and digging for data which is what a nominally science-based culture would do), we see that the arrival of digital mob rule as also been extremely un-even in how it’s geographically dispersed.

There was a report out from the Labor Department yesterday that gives a hint:

“Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 61 metropolitan areas and was essentially unchanged in 327 areas. The national unemployment rate in December was 3.7 percent, not seasonally adjusted, down from 3.9 percent a year earlier.”

So let me see what that tears-down as?  In 18.65 percent of metro areas, the absolute number of people working went up.  The shocker – and no doubt one of this morning’s hidden variables is that the data infers that more than 81% of the country (0.8134556574923547% if you want to quibble) there has seen no payroll employment growth.

As a result, when we read today’s report on how:

“Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.7 percent, seasonally adjusted, for the 3-month period
ending in December 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries (which make
up about 70 percent of compensation costs) increased 0.6 percent and benefit costs (which make up the remaining 30 percent of compensation) increased 0.7 percent from September 2018.”

We’re just going to assume, pending another batch of data study, that the bulk of the increases were noted in the 18% of cities where payrolls are growing.

Just out: U.S. weekly jobless claims jump to near one-and-a-half year high.

Another bummer in the data?  (You sure you want this?)

“CHICAGO, January 31, 2019 – Employers at U.S.-based companies announced plans to cut 52,988 jobs from their payrolls in January, 20.7 percent higher than the 43,884 announced in December, according to a report released Thursday from global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
January’s total is 18.7 percent higher than the 44,653 cuts announced in the same month last year. While it is lower than the average of 86,347 cuts announced during the month of January since 1993, it is higher than 20 of the last 24 monthly totals. “

(I warned you…)

So Big Picturing?  Looks to us like in cities, the same rules of imperialistic finance still applies:  The Rich Get Richer.

As long as we’re on rich and who’s getting it, there’s a new report on total city and state taxes just out from The Tax Foundation and it shows?

States with the highest average combined state and local sales tax rates:

  • Tennessee (9.47%)
  • Louisiana (9.45%)
  • Arkansas (9.43%)
  • Washington (9.17%)
  • Alabama (9.14%)

You should check out the map over here...  This is the kind of data that pipes into total quality of life…

Government Data To Come

Census/Commerce is out with their revised list of coming data which wed keep[ an eye on because it might impact markets:

And markets – after the shot of speed from the Fed – are mixed:  Dow was down 60 on the futures, but on a percentage basis, offset by the tech stocks, so rotsa ruck on that.

No UrbanSurvival Post Sunday

Yeah…I turn over the speed limit in a few weeks (70) and it’s time to slow down on the keyboard and focus more on putting in flowers and the vegetable garden and building a new kitchen.

The only so much of me…so Sunday is not a different kind of work day.

On that note, moron the ‘morrow with me starring as the moron part..

19 thoughts on “Markets and Cold: Search for Hidden Variables”

  1. President Irrelevant hopefully will wake up & do business like he has done all of his life. If the opposition hates you, refuses to work with you, & is looking to impeach you & maybe send you to jail, PT should forget about working with Congress & the Senate & force his agenda down their throats with National Emergency’s & Executive Orders. Doing something is better than what is happening now. Put the crazies on the run. Also, PT should check with his advisors he appointed before he opens his mouth. They all think PT is stupid, crazy, & dangerous, so what’s the hold up PT.

    I can’t see the market rally continuing under this mess. Also, if it does, it will be pro PT, he will get the credit.

    • See this:
      “Libs are flipping and darting like nerve poisoned roaches over this. 10 U.S. Code § 284 – Support for counterdrug activities and activities to counter transnational organized crime does indeed have in it a stipulation that will allow Trump to block off the entire southern border by building a fully lit fence complete with perfect observational access along it’s entire length, for the purpose of stopping the flow of drugs across the border. The legislation does not say “wall” but a fence can mean anything, including many of the designs already submitted, including the designs which are made out of closely spaced steel poles 30 feet tall the border patrol wants the most because they can see people approach from the other side.”
      “Trump does not need congressional approval, or even to declare a national emergency to get going on this TODAY. Pelosi is gonna be SEETHING at the SOTU.”
      From Jim Stone,

  2. If the Mueller investigation ends, maybe PT will wake up. I think PT is afraid of the Mueller Investigation, or he would have ended it by now. What is hidden?

  3. Another good read on the enviro madness is Trashing the Planet by former WA. Democratic Gov. Dixie Lee Ray . (she was also a PHD science and biology)

  4. It reminds me of Ken Lay from Enron when he said they had TOO much information, and that’s what we have today,and of course mixed into all that information is the endless propaganda put put by both parties, or the same party if one wants to admit that yes their party isn’t a bit different than the other party….

  5. G, good report.

    Speaking of “anger”. A local radio station here plays “Kindness” commercials. It’s part of the “Kindness Revolution”.

    You can get a taste of a commercial:

    Human nature observation:

    I’m in Michigan. There was a fire at a natural gas substation last night. The radio is asking the people to reduce gas usage by lowering thermostats to 65. If we don’t, there’s risk the gas service system becomes overwhelmed, fails and everyone gets an interruption. Some local auto-plants have even closed to reduce pressure on the gas system.

    After the news alert, the same radio station polled a couple of people,

    “What are you doing to take pressure off the gas system?”

    ‘My house is already at 75, I can’t go any lower.’

    We should be kind and cheerful to them as they beat down our doors because they squandered resources.

    Link below:

    “An emergency alert was sent late Wednesday to cellphones asking people to lower thermostats to 65 degrees (18 degrees Celsius) or below through Friday.”

  6. George, “It’s about the effing data.” True. But, if Trump won’t listen to our Intelligence Community regarding the facts, how can he come up with the right conclusions? Best, Mike.

  7. I don’t think liberals are taking AOC too seriously. She is fringe…much like the now irrelevant Tea Partiers were the media darlings of Fox a few years ago, AOC will fade.

    Here’s what I think will happen. Howard Shultz is smart by sitting on the independent ticket…for now. He wants to wait to see what cream rises to the top of the Democratic ticket and then pounce….as a Democrat.

    The strategy is based on the premise that Shultz is a centrist…He will attract the centrist Republicans who won’t support Trump…He will bring out the majority of the 100 million folks who DID NOT vote in 2016 and he will get the Democratic vote…and his running mate will be the cream that rises to the top of the Democrats that have announced. My guess is that it will be a How’re Shultz/Kamala Harris ticket.

    Harris has the intelligence, charisma and the look…but not the experience…just yet. What a Shultz/Harris ticket may ensure however, is that the Democrats may be in power for 16 years. After Shultz, Harris will be our next President and her running mate will be the newest Democratic flavor of the day…You can thank “Dumb Don” Trump for all of this.

    But I think Howard Shultz is who we need right now. Someone who can bridge the divide…A centrist that has no agenda other than to make sense of the pro’s and con’s of the ideologies of both parties and find middle ground. The far left and the far right are just huge distractions and fodder for the media…let’s get back to getting things done.

    • Run another billionaire and it won’t be just a hundred million who will boycott the polling places, but a 150 million who will stay at home, thinking correctly that its just another waste of time,the same as the last election was a waste of time, as nothing has changed nor was it intended to,except to hold peoples attention away from things that really matters….

  8. The state and local sales tax for Tennessee may reach an average of 9.47%, but in most Tennessee towns and cities; it is 9.75%. Fortunately, I live close to the Kentucky border and on relatively high ticket items (appliances, tools, etc.); the purchase is made in Kentucky which has a 5% sales tax. Kentucky also exempts grocery food from the sales tax, so Sam’s Club purchases are made there.

    Every fall, just before the start of school, Tennessee has a “tax-free” weekend on back to school items (clothes, school supplies, etc.).

    Also, Tennessee has a farmers exemption for certain items. Repairs parts and supplies, other than petroleum products; are tax exempt if you are a qualifying farmer. Really convoluted system, since oil filters are exempt, but oil is not.

    Tennessee does not have a state income tax, if you overlook the Hall Tax on dividends and interest income. That tax is set to sunset for good in 2020.

    Everything is a trade-off, some good and some bad. You just have to “game” the system to your advantage.

    • Don’t you find it odd that with the exception of Washington, all of the highest taxed states are red states? How did that happen. Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana have the worst education in the states based on College readiness, graduation rates, math skills and more. So…The taxes aren’t being spent there.

      They voted in Trump…has he made this situation better or worse? Where is the money going?

      I was surprised to see California in the middle of the pack, as much as everyone wants to talk ab…9th place…But pretty much in the bubble of the bell curve of states hovering in the 8%’s in combined taxes. Where I live is actually a tiny bit lower due to a huge tax windfall coming from corporations based in the area.

      • Just to be clear here, this is just the sales tax rates. The same link in George’s post today will also take you to a different part of the same site that shows total state and local tax burden. Those rankings show TN as #47, LA #45, AR #17, WA #28, and AL #39. NY is ranked #1.

  9. SURVEY:

    Q: Would President Trump be fired from the “Presidential Apprentice Show?

    Comment with
    1. You’re Fired
    2. Build the Wall

  10. Years before Urban Survival was birthed, my mother subscribed to the late, great Howard Ruff’s newsletter. She would send them to me after she had finished reading them (I was stationed in remote locations serving Uncle Sam). I embraced Ruff’s focus on investing in precious metals, numismatic valuable coins and small town real estate at that time (early 80s), and dumped any extra money I had into the latter two investments. Ruff did not steer me wrong. I purchased a 2 acre undeveloped parcel in a semi-rural area in 1987, building a house on it 5 years later and using the tripled land value as my mortgage down payment. The sum of my land cost and the price of the house have also more than tripled since the 90s.

    On the numismatic front, I have multiple collections of proof silver U.S. mint coins going back to the early 80s, and more than one proof American Eagle gold coin, along with several complete U.S. penny, dime and quarter sets from my paper boy days. I purchased these religiously, doing without other things to buy them. I steered away from gold or silver bullion due to the inconvenience of having to assay the bars upon purchasing or sale in order to guarantee purity, and I do not favor buying gold stored by others – too easy to sell sham bullion and/or the holding agency declares bankruptcy only to see you lose your investment. The coins can be used as barter if times get really bad. Some value is lost (numismatic) but an ounce of U.S. certified gold is always good to have.

    Today, volatile trading and high tek investments are the hot topics of discussion. Lots of money can be made or lost here. I choose to remain fairly conservative, not gambling on market dynamics. I’ll readily admit I could have doubled what I have saved at this point if I’d taken more risks, but I also could have 1/2 or less in my portfolio Instead, I played the steady game, and I read George daily.

    One final thought on Ruff and Ure – my wife and I have six months of freeze dried food stored in our basement pantry. We also have another estimated three months of pasta and canned foods, plus we installed a 300 gallon plastic cistern in our basement to hold our deep well water (280 feet), insuring we have 4-5 months of rationed water to survive on if the fecal matter hits the rapidly rotating blades. I garden, growing from seed. We also have an house generator that runs off of the 500 gallon propane tank buried in our yard, insuring we can have power and well water for months when properly rationed. The propane fuels our kitchen stove, hot water heater and furnace. I have a two-burner LLBean propane canister fueled camping stove, and a propane fueled outdoor grill.

    And, living semi-rural, a herd of deer, flocks of turkey and numerous small game frequent our back yard. I feed them in the winter to make sure they know where to come. I have three rifles and enough ammo to hunt for years. IF that runs out, I have a compound bow to insure we will have protein to eat (as long as the meat is not radioactive).

    One step at a time. Religiously pursue self-subsistence and financial independence.

    • I am honored WH to even be in the same breath as Howard Ruff. I met him in the mid 1970’s and interviewed him a couple of times. Great man. His passing in 2016 was a key loss to the young of today. I’m hoping to make it to 85 myself, as he did. That’s put UrbanSurvival here out to the 2034 timeframe. By then, I hope to be done with all my projects since I will have an eternal new pursuit in the afterlife: Telling The Universe more than a thing or two about how the strings are being pulled here on the rock. Long past time for a personal representiative to check things out first-hand and update the personnel files.

      • George
        It may not matter to the PTB in this universe what happens on this rock, as I am becoming increasingly convinced that it is some form of galactic penal colony. Considering the wars and unabashed selfishness that exists on this planet, it seems like the poor behavior is inextinguishable. Perhaps, in punishment of poor behavior in other worlds, you were left marooned on a remote planet, with the request shovels and rakes to fend for yourself, away from the great society you could not fit in with. Or that is all BS, and all of this is the result of too many UVC rays from the sun !! Sort of like the lunacy from a full moon.

    • Damn’ Warhammer! “How To Prosper…” was my introduction to markets and finance. Ruff Times was my first analytical subscription, and I read it for years, despite its cost and my limited income in the early Reagan years. Ruff is not what led me to George’s sites, but his voice in the back of me head is one of the things that kept me here. I didn’t realize anyone even remembered who Howard Ruff was, any more…

    • Good for you George. I will turn 67 in a few weeks, and I know exactly where you are coming from. I’m already slowing down and giving myself more free time. Although I do continue to Consult on a limited basis.

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