Economics and Investing:

No Inflation, No Interest, No Recovery. Printing Money Enslaves the Middle Class – T.A.

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$2,957,000,000: U.S. Taxpayers Will Fund Lion’s Share of UN Budget Again in 2016 – RBS

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Items from Professor Preponomics:

US News

Puerto Rico is on the Brink of a BIG DEFAULT (CNN Money) From the Article: “I don’t take risks – at least I didn’t think I was taking a risk…” Commentary: This is a story that could easily repeat itself across the U.S., and there are lessons to be learned for everyone from this report. Many people are financially invested in ways they do not understand and facing risks about which they may lack information. If you’re an investor… Get the facts. Know your risks. Understand your worst case scenario. Govern your choices, and plan accordingly.

The Guy Made Famous by “The Big Short” for Predicting the Housing Crash has a DARK WARNING (Business Insider) From the Article: “We are building up terrific stresses in the system, and any fault lines there will certainly harm the outlook.”

Oil Producing States Battered as Tax Gushing Wells are Shut Down (Bloomberg) It’s a radical idea, but perhaps government offices dependent on the property tax base for revenue might consider reducing their costs? From the Article: “In Kern County, California, one of the nation’s biggest oil producers, tumbling energy prices have wiped more than $8 billion from its property-tax base, forcing officials to tap into reserves and cut every department’s budget. It’s only getting worse.”

Lax Auditing Encouraged Overcharging by Medicare Advantage Plans (Taxpayers for Common Sense) Another example of financial exsanguination. From the Article: “Despite facing mounting evidence federal officials were overpaying some Medicare health plans by tens of millions of dollars a year, the government dialed back efforts to recover as much of the money as possible…”

International News

China December Official: PMI Likely to Show 5th Month of Contraction (Reuters) From the Article: “Activity in China’s manufacturing sector is expected to have contracted for a fifth straight month in December, a Reuters poll showed, likely consigning the world’s second-largest economy to its slowest annual growth in a quarter of a century.”

Shale’s Running Out of Survival Tricks as OPEC Ramps Up Pressure (Bloomberg) From the Article: “For an industry that already was pushing its cost-cutting efforts to the limits, the new declines are a devastating blow. These drillers are “not set up to survive oil in the $30s…””

Personal Economics and Household Finance

Couple Duped by Fake Craig’s List Movers Lose Everything (Clark Howard) Be very careful. From the Article: “The U-Haul truck – and the couple’s estimated $30,000 worth of stuff – never made it…”