Economics and Investing:

Brandon Smith: The Advantages of Barter and Localism. Something that we all need to be good at in the coming crisis.

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The Deflation Monster Has Arrived – G.G.

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Items from Professor Preponomics:

US News

Credit Crunch Could Be Worse that the Housing Crisis (CNBC) Excerpt: “Oil and gas companies borrowed heavily when oil prices were soaring above $70 a barrel. But in the past 24 months, they’ve seen their values and cash flows erode ferociously as oil prices plunge — and that’s made it hard for some to pay back that debt. This could lead to a massive credit crunch like the one we saw in 2008” …and a related exclusive on the same concern at Zero Hedge: Dallas Fed Quietly Suspends Energy Mark-to-Market on Default Contagion Concerns Warning: the ZH article commentary may contain bad language or inappropriate avatar images.

Mises Week in Review (Mises) Excerpt: “The global economy continues to wrestle with deflation, with oil reaching its lowest price in over a decade. The economic winds continue to look ominous, with even mainstream outlets questioning whether 2016 could be worse than 2008.”

The Big Short (Mises) Agreed. Hollywood gets closer to the truth of capitalism in this release than they have in others! They also do reasonably well in introducing the concepts of Mortgage Backed Securities (MBSs) and Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) although I wish they had done more with these. Warning: the movie contains bad language and some scenes involving nudity. Excerpt: “The two main things it leaves out—and both are critical for understanding the housing bubble/financial crisis—are the roles that regulation and the Federal Reserve played. Government regulations linked bank capital requirements to the risk of bank assets.”

Rand Paul’s Fed Audit Legislation Falls Short in Senate (Washington Examiner) Among the arguments against auditing the Federal Reserve is that such audits would subject its decisions to the influence of politics; it could easily be argued, however, that Federal Reserve operations are already influenced and engineered by the very politics about which the Fed seems to be concerned. If I might be so bold… It is my personal opinion that the primary difference may be whether the politics are those of the few or those of the many. Excerpt: “…the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2015, would have eliminated existing restrictions on the Government Accountability Office’s ability to audit the Federal Reserve’s operations.”

International News

Saudi Shares in Free Fall After Oil Rout (Business Insider) Excerpt: “Share prices in the energy-rich Gulf states nosedived Sunday following the sharp decline in oil prices and the expected rise in Iranian crude exports after the lifting of sanctions.”

Global Slump “Will Force UK Factories Into Deeper Recession” (The Telegraph) Excerpt: “The UK’s factories are likely to scrap capital spending plans as signs of a global slowdown have renewed the oil price rout. The slump, from $115 a barrel in the summer of 2014 to below $30 for the first time since 2004, has already forced change in the manufacturing sector.”

Personal Economics and Household Finance

Scammers Fake Social Security Email (FTC) Excerpt: “The subject line says “Get Protected,” and the email talks about new features from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that can help taxpayers monitor their credit reports, and know about unauthorized use of their Social Security number. It even cites the IRS and the official-sounding “S.A.F.E Act 2015.” It sounds real, but it’s all made-up.”

Build a Greenhouse on a Budget: Top 10 Cheap and Easy DIY Greenhouses (Home and Gardening Ideas) Great ideas for greenhouse designs!

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