Crypto Crash Contagion Could Go Beyond Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether – Bloomberg

Fascinating article on the risks in crypto currencies. But this is what caught my attention:

Tether has refused to disclose details on its $40bn hoard of US government bonds for fear of revealing its “secret sauce”, even as one of the world’s most important crypto assets comes under strain from heavy selling pressure.

To me, that sounds like a Madoff-type scam. So I checked Wikipedia, where I found the following four statements:

“Tether’s claims that its virtual currency was fully backed by U.S. dollars at all times was a lie”

Tether Limited as of 2017 stated that owners of tethers have no contractual right, other legal claims, or guarantee that tethers will or can be redeemed or exchanged for dollars.

On 30 April 2019, Tether Limited’s lawyer claimed that each tether was backed by $0.74 in cash and cash equivalents

In May 2021, Tether published a report showing that only 2.9% of Tether was backed by cash, with over 49.6% backed by commercial paper.

I admit to being biased against them new-fangled financial instruments, but this one has all earmarks of a scam.

Source: Crypto Crash Contagion Could Go Beyond Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether – Bloomberg

One hallmark of a “real” company is a quality executive team. Sure Bill Gates was a college dropout, but he surrounded himself with first rate people. Whereas Madoff’s executives were mostly friends and relatives. As for Tether, a web search doesn’t seem to turn up a list of executives. There’s even questions about the real name of the CEO.

Who is J. L. van der Velde? (CEO of largest bitcoin exchange) from ethereum

I did find a leadership list for Bitfinex, Tether’s parent company, and some info on Phil Potter, who is or was the Chief Strategy Officer,

Source: Crypto Crash Contagion Could Go Beyond Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether – Bloomberg

8 College Degrees With The Lowest Unemployment Rates | HuffPost Life

What I found interesting wasn’t the results of the study or the methodology (I didn’t read that far), but the values they reported: unemployment rate, underemployment rate, median wage early career, median wage mid-career, and share with graduate degree.

I think , if you wanted to choose a career based on the economics, you’d want to weigh those factors, as well as where you’d need to move in order to achieve those outcomes.

Source: 8 College Degrees With The Lowest Unemployment Rates | HuffPost Life

How the GOP used a “two Santa Clauses” tactic to con America for nearly 40 years

First, this is a must-read on how a GOP economic strategy has crippled the Democrats for decades. How the GOP used a two Santa Clauses tactic to con America for nearly 40 years

Now, check out this story about how Russia is dumping its holdings of U.S. debt (“Treasuries” — T-Bills, T-Notes, T-Bonds, and TIPS). There are various theories as to why Russia is doing it, ranging from the benign (restructuring their portfolio) to the retaliatory (because of U.S. sanctions). But the Bitemaster sees something more sinister.

When there are more buyers of debt instruments, the lender can lower the interest rate it offers. When Russia gets out of the market, there are fewer buyers and the interest rate the U.S.Treasury has to pay goes up.

Which is just what has happened. So far, the cost to the U.S. is tiny: only a couple billion dollars. But if other countries follow, it could have long-term effects on the U.S. economy. And that is what I think is the plan behind Russia’s move.

And that could move voters towards the Democrats — except that the Democrats will be totally hamstrung by the gigantic national debt they would inherit from the Republicans.

Win or lose, the Dems are bleeped.

Trade wars are easy to win, Mr. President?

The stock market and the farmers are freaking out over Trump’s trade war, the trade war he said would be “easy to win.”

Sure, I think he’s an idiot, but what if I’m wrong? When Trump’s casinos went belly up, Trump out-played the bankers, living by the adage:

If you owe the bank £100, that’s your problem. If you owe the bank £100m, that’s the bank’s problem. [source]

So let’s go back to China: We raise tariffs, they respond in kind. Currently, we’re talking hundreds of billions of dollars. By the time you read this, the tariff threats will be in the quintillions of dollars. Then China goes to the “nuclear option” and announces that they will stop buying US debt. Everybody freaks out and Wall Street types start taking headers from their office buildings.

What does Trump do? He threatens to cancel the T-bills, notes, and bonds that China holds. Xi Jinping apologizes, the two autocrats negotiate a trade deal that is slightly more favorable to the US than the pre-war arrangement, and they hold a joint press conference in which they bestow outrageous compliments upon one another.

See — it was easy.

Lawrence O’Donnell embarrasses himself on MSNBC

O’Donnell was speaking with Robert Reich about Trump’s steel tariffs and said that Trump was totally ignorant about economics.

O’Donnell graduated from Harvard with a major in Economics. Trump graduated from Wharton with a B.S. in Economics. Reich studied some Economics in the PPE program at Oxford, but has no Economics degree.

Trump may be (ok. make that “definitely is”) an idiot but, at least on paper. he knows as much economics as O’Donnell or Reich.

The Bitemaster calls “Bullshit!” on O’Donnell.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Stepping Down From Trump Economic Advisory Council

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is resigning from President Donald Trump’s economic advisory council, according to the company.

In a memo to employees, Kalanick said he didn’t want his presence to be seen as endorsing the president or his agenda.

The Bitemaster is no fan of Uber, but when they decide to Do the Right Thing, I praise them!

Source: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Stepping Down From Trump Economic Advisory Council | The Huffington Post

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

According to the Wall Street Journal (1/27/2016), the student loan market is starting to heat up.

It’s good news for big financial institutions, which expect to make a mint when Trump lets the private sector take over a larger portion of the student loan biz.

Of course, we’re already on the hook for about a trillion dollars in loans — money that we’re unlikely to ever see again.

Part of the cause is that, when the government throws money at something — like college tuition — prices inevitably go up. Just like housing prices rose during the 2001-2005 housing bubble (thanks largely to Bill Clinton. Andrew Cuomo and George W. Bush’s policies of promoting home ownership by minorities).

While I’m waxing eloquent on economics, I’ll explain why the housing bubble burst: The Federal Reserve raised its interest rate from mid-2004 to mid-2006. In 2006, housing prices started to decline. That led to the subprime mortgage crisis. By December 2007, we were in the midst of a recession. Q.E.D.

Portland Will Tax Companies That Have Outrageous CEO-Worker Pay Gaps

In an effort to combat income inequality, Portland, Oregon, on Thursday became the first jurisdiction to adopt a tax penalty on companies with excessive CEO-worker pay gaps.

Under the new law, companies doing enough business in Portland to pay the city’s business fee will be taxed an additional 10 percent if their CEO makes 100 times what median workers earn ― and an additional 25 percent if they make 250 times more.

Source: Portland To Tax Companies That Have Outrageous CEO-Worker Pay Gaps | The Huffington Post