Just out:  S&P CoreLogic, Case-Shiller Housing press release.  Think of this as an “extra present” if you own a home:

“NEW YORK, December 27, 2016 – S&P Dow Jones Indices today released the latest results for the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices. Data released today for October 2016 shows that home prices continued their rise across the country over the last 12 months. More than 27 years of history for these data series is available, and can be accessed in full by going to www.homeprice.spdji.com. Additional content on the housing market can also be found on S&P Dow Jones Indices’ housing blog: www.housingviews.com. 
 
YEAR-OVER-YEAR  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 5.6% annual gain in October, up from 5.4% last month. The 10-City Composite posted a 4.3% annual increase, up from 4.2% the previous month. The 20-City Composite reported a year-over-year gain of 5.1%, up from 5.0% in September. 
 
Seattle, Portland, and Denver reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities over each of the last nine months. In October, Seattle led the way with a 10.7% year-over-year price increase, followed by Portland with 10.3%, and Denver with an 8.3% increase. 10 cities reported greater price increases in the year ending October 2016 versus the year ending September 2016…

At a time when banks are paying essentially nada it’s nice to see the recovery from the 2009-2011 bottoming process continue:

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Stock futures haven’t reacted much  although part of that could be because we are into the period when the last sales of the year (for claiming a tax loss) is upon us.  Most firms have 3-day settlement of funds for us lil guys.

Mall Brawls?

While our own media play it down a bit, we find the UK Daily Mail reports of mall brawls here in the Colonies a hoot.

America, always willing to improve on things has turned Boxing Day into Boxing, Kicking, Screaming, Shooting, and Taser Day.

Nice.

Maybe we can do Emergency Room coupons as stocking stuffers next year?

Outlook for 2017

Great time with George Noory on Coast-

To-Coast AM last night. To briefly summarize some of the 2017 outlook:

We have three potential market breaks in the coming year.

  • January, right after inauguration might be a peak because it ought to become clear that the next “free lunch” out of Washington is likely to cost something. Or, it may already have.
  • Next window is middle of March while the third will be around August.  ANY of this could be the capper all-time-high date.
  • Those “Affordable” Healthcare hikes are arriving and even though Obamacare may be whittled down, look for there to be serious reluctance on the part of politicrats to actually give up some tax revenue..

Second – and tied into this – it will leave people with less “consumer disposable” (income) and that may put a big brake on business as sales numbers get missed in Q1.

As I noted last night, Tax Freedom Day best I could figure did not seem to include mandatory contributions to a healthcare scheme even although I seem to recall Justice Roberts calling it a “tax” when it was at the Supremes.

The www.obamacarefacts.com website notes over here that you can take tax deductions for medical and dental that exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) but the point I was getting to is that this mandatory medical expense ought to figure into when Tax Freedom Day falls this coming year. Last year it was April 24th and that’s something like 12 days later than 2011’s date.

As one of the callers to George’s show last night pointed out, with a decent income the best he could find were plans that would cost him as much as $14,000 as deductibles.

All this stuff gets us thinking about 2016 bankruptcy rates – which we won’t know about with precision until almost August of 2017.

Killed a bunch of sugar-plum fairies for us, though.

Will Bankruptcies Rise in 2017?

What we DO know is the bankruptcy rate was down 6.9% last year according to the United States (Federal) Courts.  This is a June to June data set.

In the most recent stats (i.e. last summer) the number of American’s filing bankruptcy hit 819,159. But whether the healthcare (et al) will increase that rate is questionable, since there are so many things don’t qualify for discharge via bankruptcy. While income taxes can be discharged, other taxes may not be. How it all works out might be found by reading every link in this Google Search result, but the bottom line is I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tax Freedom Day closer to May 1 (or beyond) this year. And that means effectively that on average, America is close to a 33.3% EFFECTIVE TAX rate.

Happy New Year? We will be awaiting word as 2017 rolls out when the Tax Foundation updates their numbers this spring.  I might call and ask about mandatory medical, though..

All this gets us into a musing-mood about just how high tax rates can be raised on a population before there is simple open rebellion.

There’s a .PDF that the Tax Foundation has (over here) that is a dandy course in American financial history and shows equivalent modern-day incomes and rates.

As you will read, there was no federal income tax until 1862 and then the maximum rate was 5% and that was pictured as a war tax. In 1864 the top rate went to 10%.

By 1870, the rate had dropped to 2.5% on incomes over $2,000, but when the Long Depression (1873- arguably 1898) got organized, there was again no income tax until 1893.

A 2% tax was imposed on incomes over $4,000 in 1894, but from 1895 to 1912 there was again – no income tax!

1913 saw the world moving into War and late that year the Federal Reserve was born as Congress abdicated on its Constitutional role in a laydown to the Banks. The $100,000 income level paid 5% until 1916 when war costs pushed the rate up to 7%.

Now all this may seem like odd (minutia) to be rolling around on a Tuesday after a nice relaxing holiday weekend… but around this time of year we like to sit down and ask some hard questions which drive us to get out of bed the rest of the year.

1.How many hours a week do I work and for what rate?

2.Out of that “top line” how much do I actually get to KEEP after the assorted adjustments, taxes, gunpoint participations, and so forth?

3.Of the remainder, what kind of lifestyle can I REALLY afford?

Not so many new Denali’s as optimism might suggest, eh?

Mr. Cynical’s view is that the reason Gold hasn’t burst to new highs *(yet) is that people are still “trusting of the system” and not willing (or able) to become more self-sufficient.

With few apparent options, and a sense of inventiveness being bred out of us (except for the Makers in the Millenials) we are left mostly with deep ponders among scattered hangovers.

Anything to Sell Gold?

No, gold is not $4-thousand an ounce in India and any changes in Sharia law about Muslims owning gold has been priced into the market and I’m still expecting gold in the next couple of years to bust below the $1,000 per ounce level, though I’d love to be wrong for a change.

But on the demand side check this out: People are EATING gold now so maybe this will pump demand, huh?

Filet with Maple Leaf –peppercorn sauce, dear?”

Slop-Shot News

Since we have a zillion blogs, a vast 10,000 channel digital video wasteland (not counting Vimeo and YouTube which makes it almost uncountable) some of the damnedest things pass as news today.

Turn on the BS detector as “Kerry to outline Middle East peace plan.”   How many bad reruns do the neocons get?

<Meantime> India tests nuclear-capable ICBM.

And in ongoing presidential (dick-measuring) “President Obama says he could have beaten Trump — Trump says ‘NO WAY!’

All that’s left is to see is who gets pardoned \by Obama on the way out. The official U.S. Department of Justice listing is here.

We’re anxious to see if anyone gets a preemptive “get out of jail free” card on the way to the exit…but like the board game, maybe we won’t know until the card is played…

Leftover eggnog?

Bonus Report: First Book on Sales eBook
Tuesday Morning: A Light Crown Project Update