Economics and Investing:

Items from Mr. Econocobas:

Norway’s Biggest Bank Demands Cash Ban – This call for capital controls is not likely to go away; hedge yourself to the best of your ability.

The Markets Are Backing Central Bankers Into a Corner – As you are well aware, and plenty of folks have been saying for a long while, QE and other central bank interventions are a monetary roach motel. You can never check out.

Items from Professor Preponomics:

US News

Waste-O-Meter: GOP Lawmakers Create Meter to Target “Wasteful” Government Spending (The Providence Journal) In an attempt to tackle the problem of “out of sight, out of mind”, lawmakers are creating a constant visual reminder intended to keep the matter of wasteful government spending at the forefront of constituent thinking! Excerpt: “…we have constructed a visual reminder for citizens and for our policy makers. The Waste-O-Meter is a giant thermometer which will track the instances of waste in government. Every two weeks, we intend to add to the thermometer as we uncover more examples of wasteful spending….”

Government Spending is Out of Control (Rand Paul News) Excerpt: “What frustrates me the most about Washington’s penchant for spending $7 million a minute is that there is clearly hundreds of millions dollars worth of pork barrel spending that should be removed from our list of expenditures. For example, we recently spent taxpayer money on everything from a $104 million subsidy for millionaires to live in public housing to $850,000 on foreign made-for-T.V. cricket league in Afghanistan. I cannot imagine that anyone living outside the beltway would support such wasteful expenditures.”

International News

Desperate in Davos: Policymakers Struggle for Answers (Reuters) Excerpt: “Beneath the veneer of can-do optimism at the World Economic Forum, however, was a creeping concern that the politicians, diplomats and central bankers who flock each year to this gathering of the global elite are at the mercy of geopolitical and economic forces beyond their control.”

IMF Say… Brazil Recession Deepening with Three Lost Years (Bloomberg) Excerpt: “Brazil won’t return to growth until at least 2018 after two years of recession and one of stagnation, marking the first time in over a century that Latin America’s largest economy fails to expand for that long…”

Rising Debt in Emerging Markets Poses Global Threat(Wall Street Journal) Excerpt: “After years of powering the global economy, emerging markets are caught between fading growth and tighter lending conditions, squeezing their private sectors, which had borrowed heavily during an era of low rates.The fallout from any debt defaults can spread fast: Foreign banks have lent $3.6 trillion to companies in emerging markets, and foreign investors hold, on average, 25% of local debt in developing economies.” Note: The Wall Street Journal requires subscription access to some content.

Profit Warnings Hit Crisis Highs as Market Turmoil Wracks UK (The Telegraph) Excerpt: “Profit warnings have rocketed to their highest levels since the financial crisis amid growing market fears that the global economy is on the brink of a major new downturn.”

The Periodic Table of Commodity Returns (Visual Capitalist) Excerpt: “At the beginning of each year, U.S. Global Investors puts out a fantastic visualization called the Periodic Table of Commodity Returns. This year’s version has an interactive design that allows users to sort returns by various categories including returns, volatility, and other groupings. For those keeping score, 2015 was a historically bad year for commodities in almost every regard.”

Personal Economics and Household Finance

Keys to Preventing Tax Identity Theft (Clark Howard) Spoiler Alert: File early! Excerpt: “During the last few years, crooks have been stealing people’s Social Security numbers and then filing false returns as though they were those people. The crooks typically claim low income and high deductions and file electronically. Then when you go to legitimately file your return, it’s rejected by the IRS because somebody else already filed as you!”

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